In the American legal system defendants are entitled to a defense. Sometimes the lawyers for the defense side of a case will turn the case back on the plaintiff — alleging that the plaintiff is fully or partially at fault. In a recent trial, the defense’s opening argument at the start of the case focused blame on the plaintiff. The trial involved a crash alleged to involve a faulty ignition switch made by General Motors. We have posted in the past about other faulty ignition switch cases involving serious injury or death. The trial began in an Oklahoma courtroom and was expected to be important to the plaintiffs in the consolidated GM ignition switch cases in Manhattan. It was expected that the case would be a predictor of the potential damages GM will deal with in the other cases against it.
In this trial, an Oklahoma man alleged he was injured by a faulty switch. But the defense argued that the plaintiff had been injured long before the faulty ignition accident and that the vehicle’s ignition switch was not the issue. Rather, they claimed the plaintiff fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle. He was also alleged to have had some prior injuries which were actually the problem, not anything that occurred due to the vehicle’s ignition switch. His testimony conflicted with the facts. He made telephone calls when he said he was unconscious at the scene of the accident.
The case has now taken an unusual turn. The plaintiff has dropped the matter against GM. We want to be completely clear that other GM ignition cases involve serious injuries and deaths that have been documented due to the GM faulty ignition switch. But this case illustrates once again why experienced plaintiff’s trial counsel is so important for victims of accident or injury. In the end, the Oklahoma plaintiff’s case was not strong enough to proceed. Most likely, his lawyer urged him to drop the case given the evidence mounting against his truthfulness.
But very often the defense attacks the plaintiff in a case in which the plaintiff has a valid and strong claim. Having an experienced lawyer by your side is often the difference between winning and losing the case. And having counsel involved early on is critically important. There is no doubt that a plaintiff must be truthful with his or her lawyer and ultimately the court. Most plaintiffs and their attorneys bring cases that are valid and involve injuries that have adversely affected them and their families. Having a well-prepared, experienced trial counsel that is known for his or her integrity is absolutely vital.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident, please contact our law offices at Scholle Law for a free consultation. We can guide you through the litigation process and we are tenacious and experienced advocates, respected by our opponents and the courts.