Most people are honest, fair, and hardworking. We’ve been taught to take responsibility and own up to our mistakes. As a result, we think when a mistake is made which results in damage or injury, the person responsible should admit fault and pay to make it right.
Unfortunately, this is not how most litigation typically progresses. In many cases, such as vehicle accident cases, the driver responsible will have insurance, and the driver’s insurance company, not the driver, will take an active role in litigation. In these situations, the insurance company is not concerned about being fair or trying to do the right thing. They do not have any obligation to the person injured.
While a driver or other defendant often would like to admit fault and have their insurance company pay, in most cases if they did apologize and admit fault, their insurance company could claim that the driver damaged case representation, and, possibly, that the insurance company should not have to pay. In other words, once an insurance company becomes involved, defendants must not take actions that could be detrimental without the consent of their insurance company.
Litigation in the real world typically does not proceed as it does on TV shows or in movies, where once defendants realize they are at fault, they write a check for millions of dollars, or the jury makes an award in their favor the following week.
Defendants and their insurance companies can be expected to take whatever actions may be available to reduce or eliminate liability. As plaintiff’s counsel, we have the burden to not only prove each and every aspect of our client’s case, but in the course of pre-trial litigation, to communicate to defendant’s counsel why a jury is highly unlikely to believe their defenses or theories concerning why they are not liable.
To do so, among other matters, we typically take depositions, serve interrogatories, interview witnesses, retain experts, and develop legal theories that will favor out client’s case.
Depositions and Interrogatories
In Arizona, both plaintiffs and defendants are allowed to take depositions and serve interrogatories on the other party. Depositions involve answering questions under oath by the attorney(s) for the other side. In a civil litigation matter, such as an injury or wrongful death case, the party being deposed (the individual under questioning), cannot refuse to answer. All questions must be answered truthfully under penalty of perjury.
Similarly, the parties in civil litigation matters are entitled to serve questions on the other party, which the other party must also answer in writing under oath.
We not only interview witnesses to injury accidents, but also those involved in other matters related to a plaintiff’s case, such as those working with clients through rehabilitation. Witnesses are not only helpful in proving liability, but also in conveying the true manner of suffering endured by an accident victim and his or her family.
While there are many different types of experts, in litigation experts tend to fall into two categories: those that help establish fault and liability (such as accident reconstructionists) and those that help establish damages (such as medical and vocational experts).
When it is beneficial to do so, we retain experts to help advance the cases of our clients. The particular type of experts will vary depending upon the facts and circumstances of a case. For instance, in a severe motor vehicle accident, the following experts may be helpful:
Legal Theory Advancement
In some cases, there will be a number of purely legal matters that must be considered, including whether certain evidence is admissible at trial. The court’s ruling on such matters sometimes will have a significant impact on the value of a case. We will want to take whatever legal actions are prudent in order to best advance the cases of our clients.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can learn about how we can help in your case. At this time, once we learn about the facts of your case, we can advise you as to how we can help. Please call us to schedule your consultation at a time that is convenient with your schedule.
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