Building a solid legal case involves diligent research, meticulous investigation and evidence collection. Private investigators assist law firms develop and deliver the proof required to support a case – and ensure that the final product is court admissible. Depending on the nature of the investigation, this proof may include public records, witness depositions, proof of assets, inquiry, surveillance, social media research, analysis and assorted forensics.
Let’s look at some of the ways a private investigator can help a lawyer preparing to present a case.
Initial Information Gathering and Surveillance
Many types of investigations may require initial information gathering for a legal team to decide courses of action. For example, a divorce case may proceed differently if a spouse is adulterous and is demonstratively a poor parent or is attempting to hide assets.
Private investigators can undertake detailed initial research including surveillance, digital analysis and records research, providing the evidence needed to pursue a particular way forward to support the legal team.
Background Checks and Prior Claims
Private investigators can assist lawyers in identifying the complete background of the client or subject of the case, as well as the details of a particular case. Using online and records research, a private investigator can help determine a person’s character, as well as identify any prior cases or claims in their name coupled with their social media presence.
These checks can be helpful in assessing insurance claims such as those relating to work or vehicular accidents, or in evaluating an individual sued for malpractice or inappropriate behavior.
Locating Witnesses for Depositions
Depositions are a key part of pretrial discovery. They involve locating witnesses and eliciting a statement from them for use pre-trial and potentially later on the witness stand. While generally taken orally, written depositions are also valid testimony.
Private investigators play a crucial role in locating witnesses or persons of interest. In many instances, only minimal information about these individuals may be available, while in others they simply do not want to be located. In both cases, a professional investigator can help to locate the subject. Using public records research and digital research, an investigator can locate persons of interest so that a deposition is finalized in a timely fashion.
Expert Witness Testimony
Expert witnesses are critical in pre-trial investigations and may be called upon during the hearing/trial itself. They are utilized to help lend credence to an argument or refute testimony or accusations.
Expert witnesses can be drawn from any field, but commonly include medical professionals, psychologists, forensic experts, scientists and professors. Law enforcement experts such as professional private investigators can also play a vital part in delivering expert witness testimony.
A private investigator expert witness will be able to communicate the details of the case in language easily understood by the jury, and will be able to answer challenging, nuanced questions about the case, lending support to a legal argument.
Case Building and Reconstruction
Lawyers are experts in building airtight arguments in favor of their client. Having a private investigator can help bolster their case. A good private investigator can reconstruct the circumstances around a crime, or even piece together personal connections, biases or conflicts of interest that may be relevant.
This reconstruction can help in building a case for or against an individual, as well as to predict the opposing counsel’s next move. It may even be useful in helping to prepare for cross-examination.
From locating persons of interest through testifying on the witness stand, a private investigator is a valuable supporting member of any legal team. Hire a private investigator with strong research and surveillance skills, as well as a thorough understanding of civil and criminal law, and you will have a powerful ally on your side.
Time and Cost Management
Simply put, attorneys are busy and time management is crucial. Attempting to conduct investigations on their own, attorneys will add to their already considerable workload. The investigation will take up time. While an attorney or legal assistant could research public and criminal records, find and interview witnesses, gather evidence and other investigative work, these tasks distract from judicial task at hand. Utilizing the skills of a private investigator can significantly mitigate time and cost management concerns.
Why Ciccotti & Buckley?
- Unsurpassed investigative rigor
- Top rated databases
- Forensic partners: computer and accounting with courtroom experience
- On staff paralegal
- Previous law enforcement investigators with courtroom experience
- Social media and open source subject matter experts
- Investigative analytics
- Extensive financial backgrounds to include credit and bank accounts
- Professionally completed and Court ready reports
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