Look at this picture. It’s called a stereogram, also known as a 3D image within an image. They were popular in the 90s and have been around ever since. Within the beautifully colored image is hidden the words “Happy New Year.” It takes practice and a lot of time to be able to see the image, but it’s there. You may have to cross your eyes and uncross them, or get real close to the screen and slowly back away, but eventually you can see the hidden image.
Being a trial lawyer can be a lot like looking at a stereogram. Some of the greatest results we’ve ever had for clients came from cases that, on the surface, may not have looked like much of a case. People have a natural tendency to see what is on the surface and not look much further. They also have a natural tendency to not want to keep looking to see if the situation really is as it initially appears. But any good trial lawyer will tell you that you’ve got to keep staring at the picture, and if you stare long enough, if you dig into the facts deep enough, you can often find another picture hidden in plain sight.* Here are a few examples:
A car gets blindsided by a big truck, killing the occupants of the car. The driver of the 18 wheeler says the car pulled right out in front of him, and he never had a chance to stop or put on the breaks. The officer then writes the accident up as the car pulled out in front of the big truck. Many families, struck with grief over the situation, will accept what the officer reports and move on. Some, however, will hire a lawyer to look into it. We have seen this scenario many times. When this case comes to us, we hire a professional engineer to do an accident reconstruction to tell us exactly where the vehicles were, how fast they were going, where the impact took place on the road and on the vehicles, and what happened in the accident. We hire a trucking expert to look at the records of the trucking company and driver to see if they have any major safety violations. In short, we do a very thorough job of investigating the case. And what we’ve found out many times is at odds with what was reported – the 18 wheeler was exceeding the speed limit; the driver was over his time driving and was rigging his log books so he could drive more; the big truck veered into the other lane and hit the car instead of staying in his lane and missing it; the 18 wheeler driver, had he been paying attention, had 5 or 6 seconds to see the car and avoid the collision; the truck driver was distracted and on his cell phone. What was reported as an accident that was our client’s fault turns out to be a really good case against the trucking company.