As an attorney who is actively involved with other members of my legal community, I am often called upon to provide input and advice to other lawyers. In the following situation, I was involved in a discussion regarding a difficult personal injury case and here’s what I suggested as a possible strategy for litigation:
I have been thinking about your railroad injury case, in which an unconscious man lying on the tracks was run over by a train and severely injured. At first, that does not seem to be a great case to litigate.
However, I remember about 5 or 6 years ago a well-publicized case regarding some kids who broke into an electrical switching facility on the grounds of the railroad in D.C. to steal some copper. I think they broke an old lock. In trying to remove some copper conduit, one of the kids was severely electrocuted and burned.
I remember that the arguments were that the facility should have used a stronger lock, maintained a stronger facility, built a higher fence, and/or employed a guard, and I think that a multi-million dollar settlement was reached. I think it was also suggested that the facility failed to warn the kids that they might be electrocuted if they tried to steal copper from a high-voltage electrical facility.
If a mid-seven figure settlement could be reached with thieves who actually broke into a facility to steal copper, you would think that a man who just had too much to drink and was sleeping it off could collect for his severe injuries.
I may not have every fact of the previous incident correct but this will at least give you an avenue to start your research on this tragic case. I remember that it was reported in the Washington Post. The attorney who handled that case may be willing to work with you or share his research and litigation methodology with your law firm. Perhaps the lawyer who handled the previous case will see this and speak up.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.