The importance of being truthful and candid with your personal injury attorney cannot be overemphasized. Many experienced personal injury lawyers have a favorite tale of a client who did not level with the attorney, only to have the case damaged or ruined.
However, much of the time, had the client been truthful and forthright with their attorney, the damage could have been avoided entirely or minimized by taking it on upfront.
Personal injury attorneys generally handle cases where they bet their time and their money on the case and don’t get paid unless they win. Discovering that a client had not been candid with you is sometimes something that cannot easily be forgiven. It can lead to an attorney withdrawing from representing you.
Worse, is that many people assume that if they do not tell their personal injury attorney, no one will ever know. When your attorney is blindsided at trial because you have not been forthcoming, the result can be you lose your case.
Insurance companies have vast databases or prior claims, prior lawsuits, and criminal records. Often, the adjuster will order a full background on a claimant. It is common for insurance companies to pay a private investigator to video a personal injury claimant.
Three Things Your Attorney Needs to Know
Your Houston personal injury attorney needs to know these three things. Also, always tell your attorney anything you think might be a problem.
Your personal injury attorney needs to know if you’ve had any prior injuries or issues with the areas affected by this accident. Most injury victims don’t understand that the defense attorney and the insurance carrier will get many years of their medical records to review. If you have had previous issues, your attorney must know that up front. If it was in the last ten years, the insurance company would know about it.
If you have made prior insurance claims, particularly from an injury, your attorney must know that early on. Insurance carriers and defense lawyers have access to online records showing a person’s claim history and information about the prior claim. Being truthful and straight up when dealing with a car accident attorney you are considering can make a big difference in the potential outcome of your case. Failing to disclose or not being candid with your attorney can easily lead to your attorney returning the file to you. Or worse, losing a case that could have been won if you were forthcoming to your lawyer.
PRIOR LEGAL PROBLEMS
If you have been in trouble with the law and are making a personal injury claim, your attorney must know about the details of the problem and any charges filed. If the attorney knows, they can deal with it and can sometimes keep some information out of a trial.
The relationship with the attorney is based upon trust.
You are trusting the attorney to do an excellent job for you, and the attorney believes you to be truthful and candid with them about how the accident happened and also the above-referenced areas. Do not mistakenly assume that you know more about the law than your attorney and fail to disclose relevant information to them. The vast majority of the time, an attorney can head off or minimize problems by merely knowing them in advance. Still, when blindsided, the damage has been done.
One technique for dealing with damaging evidence at a trial is for the plaintiff’s attorney to “get in front” of the problem. In other words, tell the jury and frame the issue early. This technique prevents “got you” from the defense attorney and adds to the credibility of your lawyer with the jury.
If you have not told your lawyer, they can’t prevent or minimize the damage it does to your case.