Monday, May 13, 2013

MBE Fast Fact: Present Bodily Condition vs. Past Bodily Condition

Statements about one's present bodily condition and statements about one's past bodily condition have the potential to be admitted into evidence even if those statements were made out of court, and are offered for the truth of the matter asserted. In other words, they are both potential exceptions to the rule against hearsay.

But there is an important distinction to keep in mind here. A declaration of a present bodily condition is admissible even though that declaration is not made to a medical professional, while a declaration of a past physical condition is admissible only if made to a medical professional to assist in diagnosing or treating the condition. Be sure to note this distinction, and also watch out for those questions in which someone makes a statement to a physician about a past bodily condition, but the statement is not made for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment. Those statements are excluded, as they are not covered by this exception.

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