Lawyers can’t win cases by sitting in their cozy office waiting for evidence to magically come to them. The first thing Mike Rafi does after being asked to investigate a negligent security case is to drop everything and head to the crime scene—in many cases, Mike is at the crime scene within hours of the crime. Once Mike arrives, he takes photographs of everything that could be important, speaks to police investigators and first responders, interviews witnesses, and starts learning everything he can about the location.
It is very important to find out all of the crime and dangerous activity that has happened at the location. Most customers have no idea whether the business is safe—they just figure (and reasonably so) that it is. It is the business owner or occupier that should know about everything that has happened at their location, after all, it is their business.
One way to determine the amount and types of prior crime is to obtain a Crime Grid from police. Crime Grids show crimes that were reported to police at a specific location. This is what a crime grid typically looks like:
The most important types of crimes are the ones that are similar to the crime that injured you: homicides, aggravated assaults with a weapon, gun, or knife, assaults, batteries, and discharge of firearms.
The information Mike learns from witnesses and the crime grid will help him determine if there were any other previous victims. If there are, the next step is to find and speak with those victims, and if necessary, ask them to testify.
The same goes with former employees. Many times, employees leave because they wanted to do the right thing like increase security, the owner refused, and so the employee got fed up and left. Many former employees are willing to speak freely and openly about their former employer or things that happened at the location.
In one case, Mike Rafi found a woman who worked as a leasing agent at an apartment complex. Mike found the former employee, told her about his client who had been shot 6 times, and asked her to testify about the complex, the owner, and prior crimes. The former employee agreed to testify, and in this photo, she is testifying about documents that may have been destroyed by the owner. The big stack of papers in the middle and the stack on the left together are the amount of internal documents about safety she said should have existed—the stack on the right is what the owner said he had.
Mike spends a tremendous amount of time searching for and speaking with former victims and employees, and as a result, Mike’s clients get better results.
Mike has a network of experts that he relies on and that juries trust. In crime victims cases, expert witnesses typically determine:
- If crime was foreseeable, meaning whether crime could be reasonably anticipated by the land owner
- If the land owner used reasonably security measures given the foreseeability of crime.
Experts rely on the information provided to them by the attorney, so Mike’s comprehensive investigations ensure experts get the information they need.
Mike helps crime victims win their cases by preparing every case for trial. Lawyers who assume they will settle cases are forced to play catch-up once settlement negotiations fail—this puts the lawyer, and in turn, the client’s chance at winning at a severe damage. As time goes on, gathering facts becomes more difficult because witnesses move or forget things. To be successful at trial, Mike knows that preparation and planning start from the moment he begins working on the case.