O'Mara & Padilla, Attorneys at Law
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Pursuing a personal injury claim? Know about leading questions

Most individuals know the basics about a civil lawsuit. In short, they must prove that the other party acted irresponsibly, that negligence caused them harm, and their harm resulted in damages, whether they be physical, emotional, and/or financial in nature. Yet, even though that process may sound relatively simple, the truth of the matter is that it can be extraordinarily complex. After all, parties to a lawsuit must follow the rules of evidence, as well as the trial rules. These rules, when used properly, can help protect an individual's rights. When they are not utilized, then a victim can find him or herself taken advantage of by the other side.

One of these rules of evidence involves leading questions. Leading questions are those that suggest an answer. They are generally "yes" or "no" questions, but not all "yes" or "no" questions are leading. For example asking a witness "You ran the red light, didn't you" would be leading. However, asking "Did you run the red light" is not leading.

Why is this important to know? Simply because leading questions are disallowed except on cross-examination of the other side's witnesses, or when questioning an adverse or hostile witness. Also, leading questions will be allowed by the court under all circumstances unless an objection is made. Therefore, unless an individual wants the other side's attorney to lead their own witness and essentially feed the witness the answers he or she wants, the individual should make timely objection.

This is just one of the many evidentiary issues that can arise when entering the legal arena. Those who want to protect themselves and ensure not only that their case is competently presented, but also that all pertinent issues are preserved for appeal, should carefully consider acquiring the assistance of a qualified legal professional.

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