16 Jul Using Judicial Records as Evidence
Subrogation attorneys dealing with a high volume of automobile cases often have to litigate cases “on the fly.” Policyholders can be tough to reach and often all the attorney has going into trial is the adjuster’s notes, which range in depth and quality of description. However, occasionally the job is made easier by a traffic case having arisen out of the same incident. The internet provides the Virginia subrogation attorney with a powerful tool: online case records search. A quick search before trial will reveal whether the defendant plead guilty, or was found guilty, of a traffic offense. So what can the Virginia subrogation attorney do with the judgment? VA Code §8.01-389(A1) allows the introduction of said judgment as prima facie evidence. The statute requires the records be “authenticated” by the clerk of the court where it was preserved.
Practically, in most instances if the trial time gives the attorney some time to get into the clerk’s office before court then getting to court 30 minutes early or more will allow time to get a certified copy from the clerk. Most of the time the citation or case was litigated in the traffic court of the same jurisdiction in which the present civil case is being tried. Obviously, if it is a different court, or if trial time is first thing in the morning, counsel may have to go by court before he trial on another day or request it by mail if the clerk’s office obliges.