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What is a prior inconsistent statement?

 

A: John is taken to the hospital following a car accident. The doctor asks him how the accident happened. He explains that he'd been drinking alcohol, was drunk and had taken illegal narcotic drugs.

John brings a lawsuit claiming the other driver caused the accident. During the lawsuit John denies having any conversation about how the accident happened with the doctors at the hospital. In fact, he claims he never drank any alcohol that night or ingested any narcotics, illegal or otherwise.

The information contained within the hospital record may provide information that is entirely inconsistent with his testimony taken during  deposition and trial. In some cases, an attorney may be able to use information in that hospital record to show inconsistencies.

Typically, if the information being given to the doctor did not impact or affect the doctor's ability to properly evaluate the patient, perform an examination, formulate a treatment plan and render medical care, it may be difficult for the attorney to use that statement against him at trial. This is always a bone of contention resulting in a legal fight at trial.