(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this bus accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
3. Further, since Officer Smith’s opinion does not fit into any legally recognized exception to this rule, his opinion is inadmissible.
The recognized hearsay exceptions admit out-of-court statements for their truth on the theory that the underlying circumstances carry the necessary indicia of trustworthiness to make the declarant’s statement sufficiently reliable as substantive proof (e.g., a party would not have made a disserving admission unless the admission was true; a nonparty declarant would not have spoken against his or her interest unless the statement was true, etc.). [See Williamson v. United States (1994) 512 US 594, 599, 114 S.Ct. 2431, 2435; People v. Cudjo (1993) 6 C4th 585, 608, 25 CR2d 390, 404 – hearsay exceptions involve circumstances affording some assurance of trustworthiness to compensate for absence of oath, cross-examination and jury observation.
There is case authority allowing a percipient investigating officer to estimate the location of the point of contact based on physical measurements of which he has percipient knowledge and reliable hearsay statements. Arellano v. Moreno (1973) 109 Cal.Rptr. 421 Cal.App.2.Dist. Possible partial hearsay basis of police officer’s opinion as to location of point of impact went to weight and not to admissibility of opinion where hearsay was reasonably reliable. A police officer trained and experienced in investigation of traffic accidents and in rendering of official reports on the facts and causes of the same may give expert testimony as to point of impact when his opinion is based upon his inspection of the physical evidence at the scene of the accident, however, his opinion as to point of impact is not admissible when based on what witnesses told him rather than on what he himself observed. Francis v. Sauve (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 102, 115. (See Part 10 of 13.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.