When it comes to evidence in a civil case, the documents must be disclosed to the other side before the court date and marked as an exhibit. They must also then be authenticated, before they may be used in the actual case. This is to prevent documents from being incomplete, misleading or even falsified. Think of a person submitting an incomplete medical record for example, which could be advantageous to them in court as certain parts on file are omitted.
Authentication isn’t as complex a process as it sounds. The methods used to authenticate a document in Sacramento can vary depending on the type of document. Of course being able to use documents as evidence is hugely important to civil cases. Today we’ve broken down some authentication methods by category for you.
Handwriting or Signature Authentication:
- When it comes to written evidence, a handwriting expert can examine the handwriting of both the document and the person who allegedly wrote it. Through this comparison, the expert can confirm or deny whether it was written by the alleged person. If this is confirmed, the document is considered authenticated.
- Eyewitness testimony can be used to authenticate a document. This would mean the eyewitness checking the document and confirming that it’s the same document they have seen previously. They would also then need to confirm witnessing the signing of the said document.
- It’s also possible for a non-expert to testify on the authenticity of the handwriting on a document. In this case, the testimony would need to come from a person who is familiar with the person's handwriting. They can view the document and testify to the similarity of handwriting, which is often acceptable as authentication.
Any type of official or public information is authenticated a little differently. Medical records are an example of this area.
- Authentication is often done by contacting the professionals associated with the document being submitted. For example, medical records may be authenticated by your doctor whilst bank statements can either be subpoenaed or authenticated by the bank's officials... These officials would need to confirm your documents as being true AND complete for this to be acceptable, otherwise certain details could be omitted.
- For certain documents, there is no outside authentication needed. These include newspaper articles, magazine publications and anything else which is public record. The fact that this info is available to all people publicly and can’t be altered is enough to consider it authenticated in Sacramento.
Charts & Stats:
- If a chart, diagram or statistics are about to be introduced, an attorney may question the person who prepared it and confirms the accuracy of the evidence. Giving the correct answers would confirm the validity of the document in question.
- The simplest way is for both sides of the case and their attorneys to meet and come to a mutual agreement on the authenticity of the document. With many types of document, this is enough for authenticity when it comes to civil cases.