Wisconsin law has some rules of evidence, which can come up in a motor vehicle accident or car crash case if it goes to jury trial. Most MVA cases settle out of court, but when the parties cannot come to a good settlement, the case may go to jury trial. Jury trials are expensive and unpredictable. In order to bring order to the proceedings, the law has rules of evidence which control what facts are brought before the jury for their consideration and determination. Discussed below are a few interesting rules of evidence that can come up on an MVA jury trial.
Usually, witnesses can testify only to facts they know. But, a witness with expertise in a specialty may give an opinion in that specialty. In determining the weight to be given an opinion, the jury should consider the qualifications and credibility of the expert and whether reasons for the opinion are based on facts in the case. Opinion evidence was admitted in this case to help the jury reach a conclusion. The jury is not bound by any expert’s opinion.
Say for example, a defendant trucking company destroys or does not keep safe certain records of an accident involving their driver. The court may instruct the jury that it may, but is not required to, infer that the trucking company’s missing evidence would have been unfavorable to the trucking company’s interest.
FALSUS IN UNO
In this situation, if the jury is satisfied that a witness has given false testimony on one material fact in issue, the jury may, in its discretion, disregard all the testimony of the witness which is not supported by other credible evidence in the case.
Somewhat similar to the spoliation instruction, if a party fails to call a material witness within its control, or whom it would be more natural for that party to call than the opposing party, and the party fails to give a satisfactory explanation for not calling the witness, the jury may infer that the evidence which the witness would give would be unfavorable to the party who failed to call the witness.
Positive testimony of credible witnesses regarding an event is entitled to greater weight than negative testimony of equally credible witnesses as to the same event. Testimony of a witness that he heard the bell is positive testimony. Testimony of a witness that he did not hear the bell is negative testimony.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results when the rules of evidence are utilized to present the client’s case in the search for the truth in each case.