The Information You Need To Provide To Your Attorney
An attorney is a professional advisor. People will hire an attorney in any given matter because they will benefit from the attorney’s professional guidance. In some situations, there is no real legal adversary. For instance, people may hire an attorney to assist them in estate planning for purposes of protecting themselves in this life – and maximizing the assets they pass on when they are gone. While there are laws in place that the attorney will plan around, there is no active force trying to defeat them in their goals.
In a personal injury case, things are different. Not only are there laws in place that the injured person and their attorney must navigate, but there are also people who are actively trying to defeat them in their goals of maximizing the amount of money they acquire and keep – money intended to help fix what has been done to them. These forces are present at many stages along the way, and they will be addressed at various points in this book. But the first and most important adversary is the insurance company for the at-fault person. This is a for-profit business. It’s goal every year (every quarter, every month) is to make sure that it takes in as much money as possible in insurance premiums and pays out as little as possible in expenses and insurance claims.
Each personal injury case has two aspects. The first is liability: Who is responsible or liable for the injuries? The second is damages: What are the injuries and other damages – and what are they worth? The insurance company for the at-fault party is the first entity that must be convinced that you should win on both issues. That insurance company will have attorneys, claims adjusters, and often private investigators working on its behalf to seek out facts and legal arguments that hurt your case on both issues. Its goal is to make sure it pays the least amount possible on each claim. Your attorney’s goal is to not just maximize the gross amount of your recovery, but help you in pursuit of solutions to the myriad of issues or problems that arise as a result of your injuries. Therefore, it is important that your attorney be armed with as much truth about your case as possible. The attorney can’t just be told a one-sided version facts. The attorney needs to know it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As you are seeking medical advice about your physical, mental, and emotional damages, your personal injury attorney needs to know as much as possible. For instance, in an automobile crash, your attorney will want to know the following:
- What are the facts of the crash (which vehicle did what leading up to the crash, what traffic controls were in place, what were the traffic conditions)?
- Who is the other party?
- Where are they from?
- Who is at fault? Who is liable?
- Are there any witnesses – who are they?
- Who was in both vehicles besides the drivers?
- Was anyone else negligent?
- Can we get in contact with the other party?
- Did the other party have insurance? If not, do they have assets to cover the damages?
- Do you have other insurance coverages that will help with your losses?
- Does your automobile insurance policy have medical payments coverage that will help bridge the gap for your medical bills while the responsible party’s insurance company fights the claim?
- Does your automobile insurance policy have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for those cases where the other driver had minimal or no insurance?
- Was anybody texting or distracted?
- Was anybody under the influence of alcohol or drugs? (Illegal or prescription)
- And more…
- Do you have any photos of the accident scene?
- What medical injuries did the accident cause?
- Are the medical injuries temporary or permanent?
- What kind of cost will be required for you to recover from your injuries?
- Did you have a pre-existing condition? (Such as a previous neck injury)
- And more…
Answers to the above questions will decide both whether a claim should be made and what kind of claim you will be able to make.
The Things That Might Be Used Against You
If an injured party exaggerates the facts in an effort to combat the resistance from the opposing party and its insurance company, that will be fairly easy to determine. The result is that even accurate statements will be downplayed or dismissed. Contrary to popular belief, the clients who fare the best at settlement and trial are those who downplay their injuries, tough it out, and go back to work as soon as they can. This is for a couple of reasons. In part, this is because those who don’t exaggerate have a good story that is appealing to the judge and jury. However, there is another reason to be as honest and accurate as possible.
Insurance companies often conduct private investigations during the personal injury claims process. When I used to work for insurance companies, I often saw cases that fell apart when a person who claimed they were terribly injured was caught on video doing exactly what they said they were unable to do because of the accident.
What’s more, these instances are even more common in this day and age where social media is accessible by anyone – including insurance companies.
The hiring of investigators has become less frequent because people “tell on themselves” on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more. People will broadcast videos of themselves that show them doing the things they said they could not do because of their injuries. People even just write text posts that state the things they’re doing that they’re claiming they cannot do.
What is the most crucial to your claim is telling the truth, being honest, and focusing solely on being made whole. Judges and juries appreciate that honesty and these efforts tend to be rewarded with higher offers of settlement and higher judgments. Therefore, it is important that you be as honest as possible with your attorney and not try to exaggerate. Remember, your attorney is your professional advisor. Let your attorney determine how to put your case in the best light.
Our goal is to help people who’ve been serioufsly injured to have the ability to be made whole.
If you’re injured and claim there are certain things you can’t do, but the insurance company catches you doing something you said you could not do, not only will it hurt your case, it may cost you our firm’s representation as we do not pursue frivolous claims.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Personal Injury Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.