Not Telling your Attorney these 5 Things Could Wreck your Case
If you hire a lawyer, or are considering hiring a lawyer, for your personal injury claim, it is important to recognize that this will become a long-term, important relationship. This means you need to be honest and open with your attorney at all times.
Here are several things your attorney will need to know during your case:
Your Criminal History: Usually, minor unrelated incidents will not be relevant to your case–but you might not be able to recognize what’s relevant or not, and your attorney can, so it’s important to share this information.
Prior Injuries and Accidents: Opposing counsel will look for anything that might have caused your injuries before the accident, so that they won’t have to pay your medical bills. If you do have any pre-existing conditions, your attorney will need to prove these were either made worse by the accident, or are unrelated.
Injuries After the Accident: If you get hurt after the accident, these costs will need to be separated from the costs for the injuries sustained by the accident–and even then the opposing counsel will probably try to claim your treatments stem from this second injury, not the first. So you need to discuss this with your lawyer and your doctors.
Bankruptcy: When you file for bankruptcy before your lawsuit is settled, the damages claim can become part of the bankruptcy estate. But an experienced personal injury attorney might be able to work with your bankruptcy attorney to try and see that as much of the money as possible goes to you and not to your creditors.
Divorce: If you’re filing for divorce during a lawsuit, your spouse might be entitled to some of the money you will receive in your settlement. Talk to your lawyer about this to ensure that he or she can make decisions with this information in mind.
Your lawyer’s job is to tell the best possible story, taking into account all of the facts. If your lawyer does not have all the facts, then your lawyer will not be able to tell a complete story. If your case gets to a jury, they will see the holes in your story and will not trust you. And juries do not give money to people they do not trust.