I spend most of my days in court or depositions for clients. Every time I depose a defendant, witness or doctor, my goal is to win the case. I insist on a defendant admitting exactly what they did in a particular situation and how it injured my client. It is important to connect with a defendant, even though we are suing them. As we get older in life we learn that people are all the same. Most defendants (if you talk candidly with them) will admit basic rules for safety that we as community citizens agree to: stop at red lights, don’t act reckless, make sure your property is safe for visitors, and act as a good citizen to prevent needless injury to people in our community. When needless injuries happen, the injury victim can suffer a lot – both in pain and monetary damages. It is not like the defendant did anything evil or intentional most of the time; it is that they made a mistake.
We are human and all make mistakes. When we do, the better practice is to immediately recognize it, acknowledge it and own it – then you make amends for what you have done wrong. It is only after this acknowledging of your mistake and atoning that you and the person you have harmed can go on. Otherwise both of you carry around that unpaid debt forever. This is a basic notion of justice that goes back thousands of years in every culture and religion in the world. The ideas of justice and fair accounting for wrongful acts is a basic foundation of human nature and hence – civilization and religion. So, in depositions and in trials I tap into that. Most defendants, if they are not playing games, will acknowledge these basic rules for safety, how they violated those rules, and that my clients should get a fair recovery and fair compensation for their transgression. To compensate is “to make amends,” and that is what I do for clients.