Devil’s Advocate

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Q: As I was exiting the subway car, at the last stop in Manhattan, the conductor closed the doors on my ankle.

A: It’s your word against his.  Most likely, the conductor will testify that he invariably followed the correct procedures as to closing the doors: wait for a specified time, make an announcement to stand clear of the closing doors, and only then close them.

Doubtless, the attorney for the transit authority will grill you without mercy.  “Where were you coming from?  Where were you going to?  Was something on your mind?”  The attorney will attempt to show that your ankle got caught because you were not paying attention and jumped off the train at the very last minute.  “Normally the doors will close on the upper part of the body.  His leg was caught between the doors because he jetted out of the subway car at the last moment.  He had reason to be in a hurry and could not afford to miss the last subway stop in Manhattan.  The plaintiff’s haste at the last moment, not the conductor’s negligence, caused these injuries.”

Eventually, the court will instruct the jury, in words or substance, “In deciding how much weight you choose to give to the testimony of any particular witness.  The tests used in your everyday affairs to decide reliability or unreliability of statements made to you by others are the tests you will apply in your deliberations.  You bring with you to this courtroom all of the experience and background of your lives.”

Your lawyer can never merely accept your story at face value.  Tell your attorney the whole truth; leave nothing out.  Afterwards, expect that – in evaluating your case and trying to help you – he or she may need to play devil’s advocate.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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