I thought surely people with serious injuries would have lawyers who followed the clues, but I was wrong.
How does a lawyer find the clues to prove a corporate cover-up? Sometimes they miss clues that are right in front of them.
When I was a young lawyer, I worked on a case for a former United States Marine. He got in a car crash while wearing a seatbelt, but was still ejected from the vehicle. He broke his neck and became paralyzed. But he was not at fault. The seatbelt had come unlatched.
At least I know that now – because we followed the clues and we proved it. But at the beginning, we didn’t know for sure. We just had his word. He said he was wearing a seatbelt yet he was ejected from the vehicle.
So, I got the idea to investigate complaints from people about the seatbelt unlatching in the same vehicle. I expected to find a few complaints in minor crashes with no injuries. Surely people with serious injuries would have lawyers who followed the clues!
But I was wrong. There were hundreds of complaints and many of those people were catastrophically injured. Their lawyers had sued the other driver but had missed the clues to the defective seatbelt.
Even though their clients had told them what happened, why do lawyers miss clues like this? Sometimes we’re blinded by our own expertise. We have to force ourselves to allow for other possibilities, even unlikely ones. Those other lawyers missed the clues that were staring them in the face.
We must cultivate the beginner mindset so we can explore unlikely possibilities – because sometimes those unlikely possibilities are what really happened. A beginner mind is a powerful tool for the trial lawyer.