Personal Injury Investigations: Wrongful Death and why you need a private investigator

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By definition, a wrongful death is the result of a wrongful act or negligence of a person, or entity, which caused a death and is filed as a civil lawsuit. A wrongful death suit is sometimes filed if a criminal action has failed to bring about a conviction.

Furthermore, there are several types of wrongful deaths:

Malpractice / Medical Investigations: These investigations often focus on wrongful death caused by medical negligence and incorrect medical treatment.

Workplace Investigations: Industrial accident investigations are motivated by deaths caused by company negligence or company mismanagement.

Products Liability Investigations: These investigations find wrongful deaths caused by badly-designed and poorly-tested consumer goods.

Accident Investigations / Criminal Investigations: These investigations uncover criminal responsibility for a wrongful death as well as for a crime.

 

How do you know you have a wrongful death suit?

Determining if there is a wrongful death relies on evidence uncovered and analyzed by investigators who have the tools and experience to best advise their client and/or their attorney. A private investigator can use their expertise in technology, as well as gather witness testimony or physical, forensic, and medical evidence.

Occasionally, a wrongful death is discovered by investigators involved with another type of investigation like an accident, personal injury, or homicide. The evidence collected would subsequently be turned over to the client’s attorney for filing legal claims and determining compensation.

Compensation

Clients filing a wrongful death civil lawsuit are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Although each lawsuit will be different, as well as subject to applicable state laws, the type of compensation will depend on the specific facts of the case.

Some examples of compensation include:

Economic damages:

  • The victim’s income capacity for a projected lifespan;
  • Services performed by the victim that now must be performed by another person;
  • Gifts that the victim would likely have bestowed upon the survivor had the decedent been alive; and
  • Medical, hospital, and funeral expenses.

Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering:

  • The loss of the victim’s companionship, advice, love, and moral support;
  • The loss of sexual relations between married spouses;

The role of a private investigator in wrongful death investigation

A wrongful death lawsuit has a statute of limitations specified by each state’s law, usually two years. If a lawsuit is not filed within the time limit, you lose your right to file a legal claim. It’s imperative to find out if you have enough proof to pursue a wrongful death claim.

A private investigator who has experience in collecting the proper evidence to prove your case will turn it over to your attorney who can quickly assess if it is worth pursuing.

When you have the necessary proof, and engage a personal injury attorney, the private investigator should then be a part of the legal team. Their findings become part of the attorney work product where opinions, theories, and strategies are protected.

Management Resources of New York has experience in all types of personal injury cases and we would be pleased to help you with your investigative needs.


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

 

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Posted in Personal Injury Investigations

Personal Injury Investigations: Workplace

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A work related injury or illness which occurs as the result of events in the work environment are typically covered under the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. However, there are exceptions and in some cases an employee may sue for damages caused by those injuries.

Once avenues are pursued through insurance companies and employer negotiations, an employee may exercise the right to file a civil suit. It is recommended they have the assistance of a personal injury attorney.

Why would a client need an investigator to work with their attorney in a personal injury claim? 

An accomplished private investigator working with an attorney can provide invaluable help to the case throughout the settlement or litigation process.

An investigator can work for either plaintiff attorneys or defense attorneys to provide unbiased information, documents, and witness testimony. They can supply the needed information to establish liability in the claim and help determine whether it should move forward towards a settlement or trial.

Experienced investigators can best document and analyze information for all legal and regulatory entities and, whether used in court or not, the evidence furnished will expedite the case. The quality of the investigation can often determine the outcome of the client’s claim.

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Beyond worker’s compensation

Most employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, but according to an attorney advice website, “Although workers’ compensation can provide money and benefits to an injured worker, temporary disability and permanent disability payments are usually quite low and don’t compensate the worker for things like pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation also does not provide punitive damages to punish an employer for poor safety controls or dangerous conditions. That’s why it’s important for injured workers to understand their rights to bring a case outside of the workers’ compensation system.” (NOLO)

If an employee feels they are entitled to file a claim or civil suit due to negligence of an employer, the burden of proof is on them to show fault. With the support of a competent investigator, the evidence collected will aid in building the case properly and legally.

A personal injury attorney will screen all cases and know if a client is exaggerating their claims. Once again, the investigator will interview witnesses, doctors, and co-workers that can provide information regarding the client’s character, work ethic and honesty to lend credibility to the claim should it go to court.

Management Resources of NY has over 20 years experience in the field of personal injury investigations and work with attorneys to provide the best possible solution to their cases.


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

 

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Posted in Civil Investigations

False Arrests and Abuse of the Fourth Amendment

Under Arrest

When a citizen is detained, and an officer acts under the assumption of legal authority to prevent them liberty of movement while conducting a search of their person or property, is one example of abuse of the Fourth Amendment . In order for the officer to conduct a search, or detain a person, there must be probable cause that the person has acted illegally.

While the majority of officers follow the laws they are sworn to uphold, there are pockets of jurisdictions where abuses occur on a regular basis. One such report from Evangeline Parish in Louisiana tells of arrests being made based on hunches, with citizens being detained, searched, and kept from contacting family or attorneys.

The procedures practiced in Evangeline Parish were justified by officers as a way to get information about other crimes from someone they “suspected” might know something, and has been going on for a very long time. In fact, anyone in the area could be held or arrested giving rise to the possibility of a false confession and potentially being wrongfully convicted, blatantly violating their Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment.

False Arrest or Human Error?

Officers are human, mistakes can made, and there are specific requirements in place to determine whether a false arrest has been made.

The first requirement is that the officer used force or show of authority to restrain the citizen. This means that the person who arrests you must claim to be an officer or to have the authority to arrest you. An example of meeting this first requirement would be a sworn police officer arresting a shoplifter.

The second requirement is that the you must believe that you are not free to leave. This means that you must feel you have no choice except to do what the officer asks. For example, if the officer places you in handcuffs or locks you in a room then you obviously are not free to leave. But if the officer asks you to come voluntarily or mentions that you are not under arrest, you do not have to go with them. If you do, then you may have a difficult time proving false arrest.

The third requirement is that the officer intentionally restricted your freedom of movement without probable cause. In other words, the officer meant to arrest you knowing that there was no legitimate reason to arrest you.    (FreeAdvice, Legal)

In recent years, more police jurisdictions are calling for accountability of those officers who abuse their authority and cost agencies large sums of money in civil liability lawsuits.

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One organization, The National Police Accountability (NPAP), was started with the intention of ending law enforcement’s abuse of authority and gives guidance and support to groups fighting police misconduct.

As well deserved large settlements are paid to exonerees who were wrongfully convicted, and those falsely arrested, the general public is becoming outraged, sparking demonstrations and protests, and yet, the practice continues.

We are proud to live in a country which supports a Constitutional amendment to protect its citizens from illegal search and seizure, however, when blatant abuse of this protective amendment happens, it weakens the position of the very people who should be safeguarded.

One key to preventing wrongful convictions is to hold the officers and prosecutors accountable. Their unlawful behavior makes the honest, hardworking, dedicated ones look bad.

(*photo from Flickr Media Commons)


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

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Posted in Wrongful Convictions

What Makes a Good Prosecutor go Bad?

Justice

Prosecuting attorneys are hired to represent the state in the effort to convict those who commit criminal acts, however, sometimes the lines of ethics and responsibility are crossed.

Recently, a high ranking prosecutor in the Brooklyn, NY district attorney’s office, betrayed her oath with charges that she forged several judges’ signatures on 20 wiretap orders. Tara Lenich allegedly committed the crime to listen in on conversations of a love interest.

It’s stated that Lenich’s record in office was clean and she was known for her “superior work.” Lenich once led the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau. (NYDailyNews) Although afforded the presumption of innocence, she is now the subject of detailed scrutiny during an investigation conducted by the very office in which she worked.

Tara Lenich

(*photo New York Daily News)

On the surface, Lenich’s wrongdoing appears to be an act of personal selfishness, but the entirety of her career and cases of defendants she prosecuted will presumably be examined for any further misconduct.

What happens when misconduct by prosecutors is uncovered? In this case, Tara Lenich has been arrested and charged; she will have her day in court. But, oftentimes, there is no accountability for even worse cases of unethical behavior by prosecutors who wield tremendous power in the judicial system.

A prosecutor’s distinctive role within the criminal justice system requires them to vigorously represent the state in seeking justice and upholding the rights of victims. However, when the moral and ethical line is blurred, it raises issues at the intersection of the state’s interests and the rights of the victims. This is the point where the prosecutor has to decide whether a case is winnable, and at what cost.

The cost of winning is where some prosecutor’s decision making process takes a turn and  commonly the win is more important than justice they are sworn to uphold. Too many times a person is convicted of a crime they didn’t commit because an overzealous prosecutor is more interested in furthering their career than the rights of the victim to fair and balanced justice.

Very little exists in the way of accountability for abuse of power and blatant misconduct of prosecutors. In recent years states are beginning to work for changes in the system by creating commissions to investigate and penalize prosecutors for violating the rules of the court.

New York has introduced legislation to create a commission to investigate and discipline acts of prosecutorial misconduct in an effort to enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity of criminal prosecutions and safeguarding the rights of all. (The Daily Beast)

In Tara Lenich’s case, she willingly took a pen in her hand and forged warrants in the name of assorted judges. Her reasons are her own, but her actions show that over a period of almost two years she abused the power bestowed to her with trust. And what about her victims? Where were their rights?


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Posted in Criminal Defense Investigations

Shady Tactics in an Unbalanced System

Lady Justice

The US Justice System is represented by the scales of justice, balancing fairly each side of a case considered in court. The depiction of Lady Justice holding the scales while blindfolded and wielding a sword is the portrayal of objectivity and judicial authority. This representation is the ideal for each person accused of a crime, that they will have their day in court, be treated fairly and ….”without fear or favor, regardless of money, wealth, fame, power, or identity.

We hold this symbolization of justice dear, however, in reality, there is an imbalance of power and justice by those sworn to objectivity uphold the law, but too many are more interested in the triumph of winning a case. Whether because of judicial misconduct or political favors, those in positions of power have mishandled the very lives of those they serve.

Management Resources commends those in law enforcement who take pride in the brave jobs they do on a daily basis. It is unfortunate that all the good work they do is often overshadowed by the few who mishandle their profession.

As investigators of wrongful convictions, we have seen examples of misconduct on many levels and will attempt to explain what has been uncovered in several of those cases.

 

Intimidation

Intimidation can occur within the initial interrogation by detectives investigating a crime. At times the premise of innocent until proven guilty goes out the window and the accused, as well as witnesses, are often pressured and harassed.

The intended outcomes of intimidating one accused of a crime can be to elicit information or a confession, and in cases where witnesses who may have pending criminal charges, there is an exchange for favorable testimony against the accused.

Forensic lab

Unlimited resources

Prosecutors and those who work for the government’s side of a criminal case have unlimited resources when it comes to investigations. They have access to evidence and processing, forensic units & experts, previous criminal records, case files and pleas. They can use all these resources to build their case.

On the other hand, the defendant only has his knowledge of innocence or guilt in the crime for which they are accused. Unless a person hires investigators, their own experts, or can afford independent evidence testing, they are at the mercy of what’s produced by the prosecution and work to defend themselves against their proof.

Many people accused of crimes can’t afford a private attorney and are left with overworked, underpaid legal aid lawyers and lawyers from assigned counsel plans. These attorneys do their best for their clients, but the caseload they have are tremendous.

Remember, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof in a criminal case, but that proof must be reliable. The defendant is most often unable to afford the same resources to prove the reliability of the evidence presented.

Misconduct and accountability

“The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America.” Former United States Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson

The adversarial position of prosecutors and defense attorneys is the basis for conflicting objectives within the framework of the law. Prosecutors are required to turn over all relevant material to the defense, whether or not it affects their case, and are charged with presenting the truth, not misusing their immense power in the judicial system.

Many cases of wrongful conviction occur because crucial evidence was withheld from the defense. Failure to produce all pertinent evidence is a violation of the Brady Rule explained in a previous article. Read complete article.

Unfortunately, prosecutors, police officers, detectives and other officials in the justice system are rarely held accountable for their bias, mistakes, or intended misconduct which ultimately affects the lives of the citizens they represent.

Plea bargaining

In order to ease the burden of the criminal justice system, plea bargains are offered to defendants who are allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, have the more serious charge dismissed, and agree to a reduced prison term.

The defendant enters into the process already charged with a crime, but not proven guilty or innocent and relying on evidence produced only by the prosecutor. This is the point where the imbalance of power is dangerous.

A bargaining process that denies the right to a day in court to prove and argue evidence before a judge and/or jury is presented to defendants who may actually be innocent. During a plea bargain, the prosecutor does not have to reveal evidence before the court, therefore leaving little risk for misconduct, and essentially no consequences if misconduct occurs.

 

Solutions 

NYC Supreme Court

The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government….. NYC Supreme Court

The US Justice System must find a way to level the playing field for defendants accused of a crime. Although those who can’t afford to hire an attorney are given legal representation, they must have sufficient funding for defense attorneys and professional defense investigators.

Criminal defense attorneys must be convinced of the value offered by unbiased investigators whose mission is to find the truth. They must also take the stance of being the legal advocate for their client, the defendant, and not always take the easy offer of a plea bargain, but commit to revealing the truth.

To correct the flaws in the criminal justice system we must start at the very beginning of criminal charges when evidence is being gathered and witnesses are being interviewed. The rights of the accused must not be forgotten, and we should have the resources available to ensure those rights.

The victims who are seeking justice must be guaranteed the right person is convicted of the crime and not continue to be free and commit further criminal acts.

The criminal justice system must work equally for both sides; until that happens we will see more wrongful convictions, misconduct without accountability, and criminals who are walking the streets looking for the next victim.


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Posted in Criminal Defense Investigations

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investigating innocence, management resources, bill clutter, bob rahn, kim anklin