Statistics confirm that witness observations are usually incorrect in many important respects. Statistics also say that 78% of statistics are made up on the spot. Forget about statistics. What do you see with your own eyes? Take a moment and see if you can form a reliable memory of what your spouse, child, or roommate was wearing when he or she left the house this morning, or if you are at home, now, can you remember what they are wearing in the next room? No peeking? What can you identify? Glasses? Shoes? Belt? Socks? Shirt? Where was your attention before you were asked about such details?
Unfortunately, although often unreliable, eyewitness testimony is often relied upon in catastrophic injury cases. Now, take a moment and really look at the item in the water in the photograph. How certain are you about what exactly you are seeing? Most people, if they are being honest, will have to concede that without more information it is almost impossible to be certain about exactly what they are looking at. It is a log? Perhaps a fish? Less likely, but surely possible. A crocodile? Wait, do they live in freshwater lakes? Is this a freshwater lake? An alligator then? Maybe. Who knows? Maybe the person who took the photograph knows. Maybe, the photographer knows, but then, did he or she really probe it with a stick, or throw a rock at it? Was this picture taken in a zoo? In the United States? In South America? In North America? The list of information you would need to know to reach any degree of certainty seems endless.
Often people coming in to see us for the first time are upset and dismayed that some “witness” has come forward challenging what they know happened. Just as often, people marvel that someone taking an oath to tell the truth puts the actual truth into doubt where there was none before. Even aside from bias, or motivations that might exist, the fact of the matter is that human beings do not have the ability to take in and register every possible detail in their field of view.
This is where trial lawyers go to work. We are trained to trim back false impressions and expose bias or faulty assumptions. This is important because in litigation, which is what trial lawyers do, all sorts of things that are supposedly settled are cast into doubt in ways that usually favor those creating the questions. This may lead to people leaving the courthouse shaking their head in confusion about what the “findings of facts” and “conclusions of law” turn out to be. Skilled lawyers have to know how to fight these built-in problems head-on to be sure that what the jury sees is what truly happened.
If you or someone you know is concerned that what happened is being improperly put into question by one seeking to avoid responsibility, then be assured that the attorneys at Collins, Collins & Ray, P.A. know how to keep the focus on the truth of what happened. We have investigators, tools, and specific methods we use to document and record the important facts of a case as early as possible in the process. The insurance company has investigators it employs to make certain the evidence is gathered in a way that favors their decision-making, shouldn’t you?
Brian W. Ray is honored to represent many people needing assistance with catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death claims as well as a vast and diverse docket of civil, criminal, and business litigation cases. He has tried and settled cases all over Arkansas for many years. He is rated “Superb” by peers on the attorney directory, Avvo, and has earned status as a “Preeminent Lawyer” with the Martindale-Hubbell® lawyer index. Mr. Ray is a regularly sought out speaker for attorneys looking to obtain further legal education on many litigation and injury topics. Other attorneys and previous clients speak firsthand to his skill and dedication by referring many of Mr. Ray’s clients.
Collins, Collins & Ray, P.A., 912 West 4th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone (501) 603-9911 • Fax (501) 603-9919 • Email firstname.lastname@example.org