If you have a personal injury case, chances are you'll need to hire a lawyer to represent you. He or she may work for you, but they cannot do the job correctly without your vital input and assistance. That's why it's important that you understand your own responsibilities both after the accident and throughout the process. Strive for success and lend your attorney the assistance they need to win your case with these two helpful, thorough tips.
Understand That Lawyers Hear It All
Going to a lawyer can be a little like disclosing an embarrassing medical problem to your physician--especially if your injury was in a particularly sensitive or private area. Regardless of what type of damage you sustained, some people simply aren't comfortable talking to others about medical issues.
Much like speaking with your doctor, though, it's likely that your lawyer has already heard details similar to yours. Sheer client volume and odds will mean that most are well-practiced in treating clients with respect, regardless of what details need to be discussed.
Others fear that revealing details may sabotage their case.
First, understand that each and every client enjoys something called attorney-client privilege under U.S. law. What this means is that you can say pretty much anything to your lawyer, and he or she is prevented from disclosing it to any other party. It includes the courts, police officers, social workers and literally anyone else.
This is true whenever you are discussing anything related to the case itself, or whenever your lawyer is giving you direct advice.
Never feel ashamed of discussing seemingly intimate details, as they may very well play a major role in your success. Your lawyer can only work with these details if he or she knows them in advance.
This brings us to the next most important point...
Always Tell the Whole Truth--Even if It's Damning
After an accident, it can be tempting to leave out certain details. Some people fear that their insurance may rise, or they worry that if the case is lost they'll be held responsible for court costs. Others believe embellishments will aid them, helping to win a larger award when the case is closed.
As your legal counsel, the last thing your attorney wants you to do is lie or embellish the details. Doing so is like giving them a wrench to knock in a nail. While there's a small chance they will be successful, there's also a risk that the wrench will bounce, hit them in the finger, or bend the nail entirely.
Take this hypothetical situation as an example:
Ann Smith was in an accident at an intersection. A car rear-ended her as a result of not paying attention to the lights. Ann had previous dents and scratches that were caused by backing into her garage door during a snowstorm in the first place.
When Ann reports the accident to her lawyer, she lets both the perpetrator and her lawyer believe that the dents and scratches were caused by this accident instead.
During the hearing, a witness is called. It's Ann's neighbor Sally--and Sally was present at the time that Ann slid into the garage door. Because Sally believes strongly in honesty, she feels it only right to disclose that the damage was done beforehand.
Because of this, Ann loses her case entirely instead of being awarded more minor damages.
Even if it was just a single scratch that was present beforehand, Ann should have disclosed to her lawyer that the damage was there. Her lawyer may have recommended having it assessed by a mechanic or investigated to see if paint matching the vehicle behind her could be found. This would have gone a long way to helping Ann succeed.
After an accident, having the right attorney on your side is important. This is especially true whenever you are injured. In the weeks and months that follow, your focus should be on healing and recovering. If you require assistance with a personal injury claim, or you have questions about how best to work with your attorney, contact a law office today.
Check out sites like http://www.modesittlaw.com for more information.