This guest post is from Michelle Frank, who wrote this article on behalf of the S & S Legal Group.
When you are filing a personal injury lawsuit it is very important that you are honest with your attorney. While most attorneys will stress the importance of telling them the whole story, many claimants feel that telling the attorney about their past and their current financial situation is not relevant. Unfortunately, the defendant’s attorney will do their best to show that you are a money hungry individual with a sketchy past if your case goes to trial. Painting a bad picture of the claimant is one of the most common types of defenses for a case that might seem as if it is clear cut. If you are about to meet with a personal injury attorney, you should know everything the attorney needs to know before you sit down with them. Read on and find out what information you should be prepared to divulge.
1. Medical History and Pre-existing Conditions
After you discuss the details of the event that led to your injury, the attorney may start asking you personal questions. One of the questions will pertain to your current health and pre-existing health conditions. If you had previously injured your back before a car accident and you are complaining of back pain after the accident, this is something your lawyer needs to know. If you are claiming a medical malpractice claim for injuries and you were injured prior to the treatment, this could help your attorney prepare for what the defense has up its sleeve. Failing to communicate this information could cause you to lose your case.
2. Do You Have a Criminal Background?
Just because you have a criminal background does not mean that you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. While you are still eligible for compensation, you need to know that your background may to become a topic of discussion in court. If the defendant hires a good defense attorney, the attorney is going to run a criminal history report on you to see if you have been an upstanding citizen your whole life. If you have a DUI, theft charges, or any other types of criminal charges on your record, the defense can use this information against you in court. If you have criminal charges, no matter how long ago, tell your personal injury attorney.
3. Are You Having Financial Troubles or Have You Filed Lawsuits in the Past?
There are litigious people in the world and these people make a bad name for people who are actually only seeking the compensation they deserve. If the case goes to trial, your lawyer will need to know whether you have been having financial troubles and hardships. If you have been struggling to cover the bills, the defense might paint the picture that you have filed this lawsuit purely for financial gain. If you have filed lawsuits against past employers or large companies, the defense might try to show that you are “sue happy.” Let your lawyer know about your financial situation and past lawsuits so that this is not a surprise during courtroom proceedings.
A lawyer needs to know much more than just the details about the incident to represent you in court. They need to know about you as a person and about your past. Make sure that you tell the lawyer everything they need to know. Remember, everything you tell them is protected by lawyer-client privilege so you do not have to worry about it affecting your case.