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Long Island, NY Personal Injury
& Accident Lawyers
33 Queens St. Syosset, NY 11791 Free Consultation 516.307.1199
I Have To Trust You & You Have To Trust Me

    We are all human beings, and that means that we all have pasts; histories of behavior and histories of events that have had impacts on our lives. As an attorney, I always am conscious of that fact. However, when there is a possibility that you could be involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you must remember that some things in your past will matter. That is why I always urge my clients to disclose pertinent details of their lives to me. Not doing so could have an adverse effect on the resolution of a personal injury case. Unpreparedness can change the outcome of your case – and certainly not for the better.

    For instance, several years ago when I was working for another trial attorney, I had a client who had a substantial disability claim – severe lumbar impairment which required two surgeries. She had sworn, under oath, and submitted supporting documentation about her job and how her severe impairments made it impossible for her to continue performing it.

    All was going along rather smoothly until just after we had finished jury selection and were about to make opening statements. It was then that the client decided to disclose to me that she had never really held that job, and that someone, other than herself, had been reporting to that job everyday, using my client’s name! This is every plaintiff’s attorney’s worst nightmare.

    My opening statement, my strategy, my confidence in the case had begun to fray. What my client had been hiding from me had completely transformed not only the actual case, but also, potentially, the outcome.

    Because I had an obligation of confidentiality to my client, I could not share this information with the court. On the other hand, I also had an obligation to the court, and could not allow the client to take the stand and testify to a lie I was aware of. Again, the worst nightmare scenario for any attorney.

    Fortunately, for all concerned, I was able to negotiate a settlement. However, it was for significantly less the case was worth had the client been completely forthcoming with me. The settlement meant that she did not have to testify and make any untruthful statements in court. Thinking back, I can only imagine the fiasco that could have ensued had the opposing attorney discovered the full facts of the case. My client’s credibility would have been relentlessly attacked, and justifiably so. After all, when you are caught in one lie, it is not such a stretch to believe you would lie again and again.

    On the other hand, had my client just told me the truth, I could have been prepared, planned my strategy differently, and if we had prevailed, she would have been better compensated for her severe injuries.

    When you have a prior accident claim or injury, you must tell that to your personal injury attorney representing you. When you have prior criminal convictions, you must share that information with your personal injury attorney. When you have lied about reporting to a job that you do not actually do, you must share that with your personal injury attorney, no matter how embarrassed or nervous you are about doing so. I have to trust you and you have to trust me.

    Disclosing all relevant facts, regardless of how uncomfortable it is to do so, allows your personal injury attorney to cull all past medical information from your doctors and compare them to the current medical reports. You are allowed, by law, to claim an exacerbation or aggravation of a preexisting condition, but your attorney must be made aware of that condition in order to build your case accordingly.

    Likewise, if you have been having someone other than yourself, report to a job using your name, that is something that you must disclose to your personal injury attorney. He or she must be prepared to defend you against an attack on your character.

    If you choose to tell your attorney facts that could have an impact on your case after you already have given sworn testimony, it will be too late. You absolutely will be caught in a lie, and you also put your attorney in an untenable position. Plus, you will call into question any reports from your doctor who, not knowing that you have had prior injuries, writes a report that states your injuries were caused by the recent accident (crucial to your case). Your doctor’s word will be attacked as speculative and incredulous, and quite possibly could be discarded altogether.

    Remember that insurance companies will fight your personal injury claims. They are not in business to pay out claims; they are in business to make money for their shareholders. That said, they are big corporations with the ability to search your records with ease. They will definitely search across computer indexes for any and all insurance claims ever filed by you. The information they collect will provide the date of loss; the name of the insurance company you filed against; claim numbers, the facts of the claim; as well as names and contact information of the doctors and lawyers involved.

    Furthermore, once you sign authorizations for the release of your medical history, the insurance carrier will be guaranteed to have all past information. Hiding these critical facts, especially from your personal injury attorney is a fool’s errand. Rather, tell your personal injury attorney everything and give him or her the ability to develop the best possible case. Additionally, you do not want to put your attorney in the terrible position of knowing you are not being honest. That is simply wrong.

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