Business Records Law & Legal Definition


Business records are an exception to the hearsay rule, which prohibits introduction of out-of-court statements of unavailable witnesses into evidence when offered for truthfulness. Most states allow an exception for business records, similarly to the The Federal Rules of Evidence. The Federal Rules of Evidence allow a business record to be admissible if:

1. The record was made in the routine of the business;

2. The record was made by, or from information supplied by, a person with personal knowledge of the matter recorded and who is working in the business; and

3. The entry was made "at or near the time" of the matter recorded.

If the surrounding circumstances make the record seem untrustworthy or self-serving, the court has discretion to exclude it. If a regularly kept business record would otherwise qualify, it may usually be admitted to show that a particular entry is absent, if such an entry would normally have been made had a particular event occurred. Most courts hold that the record must be in writing and a witness must be called who can testify that the requirements of the business-records statute were satisfied. This exception for business records is most often applied in the case of hospital records and computer printouts.