American Towman Magazine - August 2022

Page 54

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54 • August 2022 |

assets available for seizure and/ or significant insurance coverage. Truth be told, all too often people are named as defendants in a lawsuit not because of fault or error, but for their ability to pay. Step 3. Construct a Theory of Liability: So if the person immediately responsible for the loss or injury does not have the ability to pay, an attorney will search for a deep-pocketed defendant and a theory of liability that can be developed against him or her, showing why that defendant should be held responsible. The success of the trial attorney is dependent upon this approach. Trial attorneys make up one of the largest lobbyist groups in the country, and have created laws to increase the level of “vicarious liability.” This term means you can be held responsible for the actions of others. Trial attorneys have worked hard to ensure that whoever has the money can be held responsible for negative outcomes through vicarious liability, even if they committed no wrong. Step 4. Trial: Every day we see trial attorneys winning cases that appear to be irrational, absurd, and without merit. Many attorneys will even pursue a bad case if they can find a defendant with the ability to pay. They hope that they can obtain a settlement, or convince the jury to award cash to the injured, needy plaintiff from the comparatively wealthy defendant. Many jurors have freely admitted that they have overlooked whether the defendant was at fault solely because they felt sorry for the plaintiff. Step 5. Judgment: If the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) wins the trial and the defendant (the person being sued) is found responsible for the injury or loss, the court renders a judgment to compensate the plaintiff for injury and/or loss. It is now routine for judgments to be in the millions of dollars.