The Key To Future Success
November 7, 2006
Aitken * Aitken * Cohn handles litigation stemming from vehicle related injuries on a regular basis. For example, during the last few months, the firm has resolved cases involving the following fact patterns:
- A confidential settlement of a tragic case where a 72 year old gentleman was fatally injured while walking in a crosswalk near his home. The action was brought on behalf of the gentleman’s widow and three adult children, and resulted in a settlement which we believe is a state record for an action involving the death of a retired person of that age.
- An action brought by an Orange County firefighter injured in a multiple car accident. The firm was able to successfully demonstrate that the primary cause of the collision was the improper drainage design of the local toll road involved which allowed excess water to gather on the road during rainstorms.
- An action brought by a gentleman who suffered a closed head injury during a broadside vehicle collision after another car improperly turned in front of him.
Each of these cases presented unique difficulties. Some of the difficulties involved establishing the liability of the potential defendants. In others, the challenge was developing the facts that enhanced the liability of the defendants while eliminating any potential argument that the injured party was wholly or partially to blame for the incident. In yet others, the challenge was to document the clients’ injuries, and the causes thereof, so that full compensation could be achieved. In each of these diverse cases, however, one key helped our clients overcome these challenges: early and aggressive investigation.
Every injury causing incident creates evidence. Some of this evidence is at the location of the incident itself–skids on a road, or perhaps markings left by police or paramedics. Some of this evidence is the recollections of eyewitnesses. Other evidence is the collision damage of the vehicles involved, or the photographs taken by eyewitnesses or the police. All this evidence is crucial to establish both the fault of the defendants and the nature and extent of our clients’ injuries.
This evidence, however, quickly fades with time. Skids marks and other markings on a roadway are worn away, and witnesses’ recollections lose their clarity. Damaged cars are repaired or scrapped. We believe that one element that distinguishes Aitken * Aitken * Cohn from many of its competitors is the aggressive team-based approach we take to investigate our clients’ claims from the very outset. Our approach is to tackle each new case as though trial was “just around the corner”, and we quickly move to document and preserve all the evidence available.
In a typical matter (and depending on how promptly we are retained following an incident), we will take photographs of the scene, including aerial photos were appropriate. We will obtain signed statements from the eyewitnesses when memories are fresh. We will obtain all evidence from the police and fire departments involved, including 911 call tapes which are quickly erased by the police unless requested.
Over and above this gathering of evidence, we develop this evidence by hiring experts in such diverse fields as accident reconstruction, biomechanics and highway design. Through this process we are able to determine precisely how an incident occurred, who is at fault, and how the injuries were caused. By gathering this information early, we are able to determine the list of parties potentially at fault for an incident, and also determine further areas of investigation to bolster our clients’ cases to the maximum extent possible. Also, by expending this effort early on, our personal injury attorneys not only preserve the evidence, but also obtain a “leg up” on the attorneys representing the defendants, who often do not perform any analysis of an incident until months or years after it has occurred.
Therefore, the moral of the story is that early and aggressive investigation often makes the difference between victory and defeat, between full compensation and a disappointing compromise. Aitken * Aitken * Cohn prides itself on expending the effort and resources to fully protect and develop its clients’ rights.