As Professional Investigators we would like to offer the following advice to attorneys.
When utilizing the services of a Private Investigator get them involved in the case as soon as possible. This is true in both criminal and civil matters.
Criminal Defense Investigations – when a client is retained, schedule a meeting with the client and the investigator as soon as possible. There will be specific questions the investigator will need to ask the client. The timeliness with which the investigator can get out in the field and locate witnesses plays a key role in any criminal defense case. Witnesses can either be confirmed, meaning they are listed on the police report and we know who they are or they can be unconfirmed and we don’t know they even exist. A thorough private investigate will conduct a canvass of the area and attempt to locate previously unknown or unconfirmed witnesses. In one particular case the attorney we were working for called us within a day of the incident taking place. We were able to interview key witnesses and obtained a copy of CCTV footage that was instrumental in the charges being dismissed against the client. The police are involved in an investigation as soon as it is determined a crime has been committed. Your private investigators are part of the defense team and should be involved as soon as you are retained by the client.
Civil investigations – the same principals apply in a civil case. Your private investigator should become involved as soon as you retain a client. In civil matters such as personal injury claims any factors that contributed to the injury should be photographed before they can be removed or repaired. The absence of signage or physical security measures may also have contributed to the accident and the location should be photographed before the owner has the opportunity to put signs up or fence in the site of the accident. In a recent premises liability case we investigated a year after the occurrence we found that the building entrance doors had been replaced, the locks were repaired and the surveillance cameras had been fixed. The accident scene was nothing like it was when the client was injured. It is also important to obtain witness statements as soon as possible after the incident. Witnesses forget, they move, they get sick and in some cases pass away. It is critical that the investigation be conducted as soon as possible after the incident or accident.
Retain the private investigator – we recommend that the attorney retain the private investigator as opposed to the individual client retaining the investigator. When we are retained by the attorney we become part of the legal team and therefore correspondence between the investigator and the attorney is considered “work product”.
We hope that you have found this bit of advice useful. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey. This blog is for our clients and friends in an effort to keep them abreast of our recent cases, investigative tools and techniques and emerging trends in our profession. We also welcome inquiries from potential new clients that may be contemplating hiring a Private Investigator, but have some questions or concerns about doing so. The investigators of Management Resources Ltd. of New York are here to assist you. Please feel free to participate.