Book Details

Getting Your Hands On The Evidence

By Ronald S. Beitman

  • Hardcover
  • 240 pp.
  • ISBN: 0-8318-0864-0
  • Order Code BK38
  • $12.00
  • ONLINE: 2005
  • Online
  • 240 pp.
  • $12.00

Find out what they didn’t teach you in law school about—



While much has been written about the rules of evidence and the use of evidence in court…there are few publications regarding the preservation, shipment, and storage of evidence between its collection and display at trial. This book fills that gap….[Recommended] for attorneys who handle personal injury cases….

--Legal Information Alert

[In Getting Your Hands On The Evidence], Beitman explores, in a very practical way, how one obtains and maintains evidence from a variety of sources….This type of insight and discussion make the book a kind of extended checklist with ideas and suggestions that both the beginning lawyer as well as the more seasoned practitioner should find useful.

--New Jersey Lawyer

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—Your guide through the process of locating, gathering, and preserving the physical evidence you need to win your case!

Drawing on his many years of experience in handling personal injury cases, author Ronald Beitman gives practical guidance and specific tips on getting and preserving physical evidence for litigation. In this book, he explains why formal discovery should be the last resort in discovering physical evidence—not the first.

Written for both plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys, this valuable book explains how to:

• Organize a team for finding and obtaining physical evidence(p. 6)

• Contact employers and uncooperative third parties who have the physical evidence you need (pp. 53, 57)

• Obtain physical evidence from third parties through a bill of discovery (p. 104)

• Get your physical evidence inspected and analyzed by your expert without prejudicing your opponent or risking a charge of spoliation (pp. 113,131)

• Document the condition of your physical evidence through a chain of custody (p. 41)

• Protect and store your physical evidence securely until the time of trial (p. 135)


Getting Your Hands On The Evidence covers what they don’t teach you in law school: how to evaluate an investigator’s effectiveness; what to do when the client dies intestate and you need to preserve crucial evidence; what to say to the court clerk when you file a motion for preliminary injunction to preserve evidence; how to preserve the chain of custody; what to say to the employer and its workers’ compensation carrier when handling the products liability case arising from a workplace injury; how to purchase exemplars of demonstrative evidence; how to avoid losing your evidence; what language to use in your correspondence with OSHA; and what evidence-shipping procedures must be used.

This book shows plaintiffs’ attorneys how to avoid pitfalls in gathering and preserving physical evidence by:

• Making sure you sign up the right client in a death case or a case involving a child

• Avoiding trespass and ethical issues in gathering evidence

• Preventing destruction of evidence by obtaining a restraining order

For defendants’ attorneys, the book explains how to:

• Plan ahead to preserve physical evidence if an accident occurs

• Protect physical evidence when OSHA or other governmental agencies are investigating an accident

• Protect others from further injury while preserving the integrity of physical evidence

• Get the physical evidence quickly back into service.

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About the Author

Ronald S. Beitman is a partner in the law firm of Kistin, Babitsky, Latimer & Beitman, of Falmouth, Massachusetts, where he has handled several high-profile cases. He is editor of the Dram Shop and Alcohol Reporterand has appeared on 20/20, CBS Morning News, Court TV, Nightline, and Oprah Winfrey. His expert advice is frequently quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of Liquor Liability: A Primer For Winning Your Case (ALI-ABA).

Contributors: Richard K. Latimer, Partner, Kistin, Babitsky, Latimer & Beitman, is the author of Chapter 5. Daniel P. Gibson, Scott R. Behman, and Christopher P.Cifra, all of Gibson & Behman, P.C., are the authors of Chapter 19.

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Throughout his discussion of the topic, author Ronald Beitman describes the ways in which an experienced lawyer should speak to clients, prospective clients, family members of clients, the client’s employer, the media, tow truck drivers, junkyard operators, witnesses, and government officials to maximize the chances of getting and preserving relevant evidence. The book also contains 18 appendixes that show the language practitioners should include in motions in limine, motions for orders, complaints, affidavits, summonses, restraining orders, motions for injunctive relief, and reply memorandums concerning the preservation of physical evidence. An appendix, including several adaptable forms, can be downloaded from the ALI-ABA website by purchasers of this book.

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Getting Your Hands On The Evidence: Table of Contents

Getting Your Hands On The Evidence: Index Of Subjects

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Abbreviated Table of Contents

Chapter  1 Introduction To Preserving Physical Evidence

Chapter  2 Developing A Plan Of Action

Chapter  3 Getting The Case

Chapter  4 Heading To The Scene

Chapter  5 Chain Of Custody

Chapter  6 Duty To Preserve Evidence: Potential Party

Chapter  7 Duty To Preserve Evidence: Non-Party

Chapter  8 Evidence In The Government’s Hands

Chapter  9 Specific Types Of Evidence

Chapter 10 Contacting The Employer

Chapter 11 Contacting The Workers’ Compensation Insurer

Chapter 12 When Diplomacy Fails

Chapter 13 Authority For Inspections

Chapter 14 Proceeding To Court

Chapter 15 Making Your Inspection

Chapter 16 Purchasing Exemplars

Chapter 17 Manufacturer’s Request To Inspect

Chapter 18 Losing Your Evidence

Chapter 19 Defense Perspective: Holding Onto What You’ve Got

Chapter 20 Getting The Evidence Without Getting Into Trouble


Civil Action Cover Sheet • Summons And Restraining Order • Complaint For Injunctive Relief • Affidavit In Support Of Motion For Injunctive Relief • Restraining Order • Motion For Preliminary Injunction To Preserve Evidence • Petition For Leave To Enter Upon Land • Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Motion For An Order To Preserve Evidence • Investigator’s Affidavit In Support Of Motion For Order To Preserve Evidence • Order On Plaintiff’s Motion To Preserve Evidence • Correspondence To OSHA (Request To Preserve Evidence) • Plaintiff’s Motion For Order To Preserve Physical Evidence • Complaint • Attorney’s Affidavit In Support Of Motion To Preserve Evidence

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