They say the three people that you should never lie to, are: your doctor, your accountant, and your lawyer. If you or a loved one has been injured and would like a personal injury lawyer to pursue your accident claim, you will be embarking on an attorney/client relationship. When such a relationship is formed, as a client, you need to be open and communicative about any potential event that might affect the outcomes of the case – directly or indirectly.
95% of personal injury lawsuits are settled pre-trial, outside the court. Considering this, you should be upfront about the facts surrounding your case and ask your personal injury lawyer the right questions, so that they are aware of any potential challenges that might threaten your financial settlement.
Moreover, 90% of cases that go to trial lose, so in case the odds are against you, your lawyer would be able to get you the best possible offer, only if they are aware of everything. To give you more clarity on the aspects that you should mention, here are a few things that you should bring up to your personal injury lawyer right away:
#1 Injuries suffered prior and since
Personal injury lawsuits can be highly strenuous as it is, but the added challenge of sustaining other injuries before or after the accident that you are filing a claim for can add several layers of complexity to your case. You should have a candid conversation about such injuries right after you hire a personal injury lawyer. If you had any injuries before the actual accident, insurance adjusters could claim that your current injuries are related to the previous ones, and your lawyer should be in a position to dispute this.
Moreover, if you have had an injury after the accident, the defense lawyer can claim that you are attempting to seek compensation for injuries that are unrelated to the claim that you have filed. Again, a classic situation that your personal injury attorney should be able to anticipate and dispute.
If your lawyer does not have enough information about these injuries, it can hamper the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit. You must ensure that your lawyer is fully aware of any injuries that you may have before or after the incident for which you have filed a suit so that they can build your case accordingly.
#2 Any prior claims
Another important matter that you should always discuss with your personal injury lawyer before taking your lawsuit further, is any prior claims that you may have filed. This means that if you have claimed insurance for any injury before, your lawyer should be aware of it. Insurance providers as well as your defense lawyer can easily get access to your medical records and insurance information.
Claiming insurance for injuries that have taken place earlier is not exactly detrimental to your case, but that is, as long as you disclose it right from the start. In such situations, your personal injury lawyer will have some more paperwork to submit to the state or federal government, before your case can move any further. Failure to do so can potentially delay your case, or worse, it can raise questions about your credibility and dismantle your entire lawsuit.
#3 Criminal History
Let’s face it: talking about your criminal history can be quite discomforting, especially to a lawyer. But when we said that you need to be completely honest with your personal injury lawyer, we did mean everything. If you have ever run into trouble with the law, even within juvenile records, your lawyer should know everything about it including the entire situation, the charges filed, and the outcome of these charges.
You should know that insurance providers will always run background checks on you, and will likely find all this information about you anyway. But if you inform your personal injury lawyer about it beforehand, they would be better prepared to counter any claims that the defense attempts to throw at you with the intent to discredit you during the proceedings.
Remember: Cases of misdemeanors or felonies generally do not impact your case outcomes, as long as they are unrelated to the lawsuit that has been filed by you.
Divorces and Bankruptcy are subjects that are hard to think about, let alone freely talk about it with your lawyer. But for a favorable outcome on your lawsuit, you should get this difficult conversation out of the way, right at the beginning.
Declaring bankruptcy can be an embarrassing admission, but failure to do so can result in loss of any financial gain that you have from the lawsuit, especially if you file for it while your personal injury lawsuit is ongoing. The financial settlement that you receive as damages might directly go to your creditors, and you may not get any compensation for your injury. If you inform your personal injury lawyer in advance, they can work with your bankruptcy lawyer to decide on exemptions that may apply to you.
Similarly, if you plan to file for a divorce while your personal injury lawsuit is going on, you should inform your lawyer. In case the soon-to-be ex-spouse supported you while you were injured, your lawyer can ensure that they get a fair share of the compensation. On the other hand, if the divorce is not under amicable circumstances, your ex-spouse might hurt your case in case of testimony. If your lawyer is aware of the divorce, they can depose your ex-spouse beforehand to prevent any hindrance in your lawsuit.
#5 Related Social Media Activity
Here is a modern aspect to be considered for modern-day personal injury lawsuits. Social media platforms offer up a lot of public domain information about you, and your life. While this works great in terms of social interactions, it can sometimes make or break your case. For instance, if you went to a restaurant and got injured as a result of their negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. But if you have already posted a great review of the restaurant right after the incident on your social media profile, chances are that it can be used against you.
Regardless of where and how you got your injury, if you are filing a lawsuit for it, your personal injury lawyer should know if you posted anything about it. In some cases, social media profiles can even help validate your claims and result in a substantial financial settlement for your lawsuit.
Winning a personal injury lawsuit is no small feat – for the lawyer or yourself. Many things can make or break your case, but by simply being forthcoming, you can prevent a lot of challenges right away. Regardless of how embarrassing or uncomfortable, ensure to talk about the points that have been mentioned here. Apart from these questions, your personal injury lawyer might have specific questions related to the case, that you should answer honestly as well.