(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/car accident case and its proceedings.)
Evidence Code § 402 allows the Court to hear and determine the question of the admissibility of evidence outside the presence or hearing of the jury. See, Mike v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. (1975) Cal.App.3d 436, 448. In addition to excluding highly prejudicial evidence, the Court may instruct opposing counsel to avoid mention of the evidence in question during trial or in argument to the jury; and to direct persons under their control (counsel’s associates, clients, witnesses, etc.) likewise to avoid such mention. L.A. Sup.Ct. Rule 8.92; see, Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. (1981) 119 Cal.App.3d 757, 793, 174 Cal.Rptr. 348, 371.
Expert opinions are not proper when offered by a lay witness. Evidence Code § 800. See, Jambazian v. Borden (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 836, 848. Examples of inadmissible lay opinion evidence include testimony on causation [Stickel v. San Diego Elec. Ry. Co. (1948) 32 Cal.2d 157, 165], legal conclusions [Osborn v. Mission Ready Mix (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 104, 113-144] and matters beyond common experience [People v. Williams (1992) 3 cal.App.4th 1326, 1332-33].
This would include a statement by Black that the video or photographs of the auto collision “fairly and accurately depicted” what he saw that night, because they cannot. They do not substantially replicate the field of vision he had, where his focus was, or the lighting condition his eyes would have received. If allowed, through a witness or an expert, such evidence would be totally unfair to the brain-damaged plaintiff.
Evidence Code § 800 states as follows:
If a witness is not testifying as an expert, his testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to such an opinion as is permitted by law, including but not limited to an opinion that is:
(a) Rationally based on the perception of the witness; and
(b) Helpful to a clear understanding of his testimony. (See Part 6 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.