As I’ve said many times before, when you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, honesty is the very best policy. It is important during any deposition or any testimony to tell the truth without embellishing the facts or leaving out the facts.
The same is true in discussions with your attorney. In order for your personal injury attorney to mount a good case on your behalf he/she will need to know about anything in your past that could relate to or have an impact on your current case. If you fail to disclose pertinent details about your life (your health, your past accidents, for example), you are hindering your attorney’s ability to represent you.
Let’s say that you had a serious fall 15 years ago. Let’s further say that as a result of that fall, you were left with a chronic back injury. Old hospital records and medical treatment records of your back injury do exist. Your employer knows about your back injury, as well as your family and friends. Everyone you know, knows you have a chronic back problem.
Fifteen years later, you are stopped at a traffic light when another vehicle hits you from behind. And, your back takes the worst hit. Clearly, the accident did further damage to your back. However, you fail to disclose your back history with your new personal injury attorney. He will then be operating under the wrong assumption that prior to the accident, your back was in good condition. He builds his entire case around that wrong assumption.
Of course, he seeks and obtains all medical records that he believes pertain to the recent car accident, but perhaps you are treating with a different doctor than you were before. At long last, you realize that you should tell your attorney about your chronic back problems. That means that he will have to rethink the entire case. And, depending on where you are in the lawsuit, that could adversely affect the outcome.
You Must Trust Your Attorney
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had prior accidents; or, whether you have a criminal record; or, whether you’ve lied before to anyone else. When it comes to your attorney, the one person whose job it is to work on your behalf, you must tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes, clients just forget to disclose pertinent details. And sometimes, if a client has had a prior accident, he/she is afraid of how that knowledge might affect his/her current case. You need to tell your attorney everything so that he/she can plan your case, taking everything into consideration. There is nothing an attorney dislikes more than being surprised by his own client.
If you wait until after you already have given sworn testimony to tell your attorney the whole truth, it will be too late. You will be perceived as a liar. Your attorney will be in a terrible position. And, your own witnesses will be called into question. Holding back facts is a losing strategy.