Honesty is the Best Policy
We know you’ve heard this before. So many times, you might be tired of hearing it. However,the importance of honesty in a legal proceeding can never be overstated.
Having been an attorney for over thirty years, I’ve seen cases totally lost by someone trying to make their case stronger by intentionally hiding prior similar injuries and by lying about having receiving prior medical care for a similar injury or condition. I’ve seen people exaggerate as to exactly how their injury occurred to the point that it is unbelievable–even to a casual observer.I’ve seen others lie about their intentions or the known intentions of others, with the result that they have lost tens of thousands of dollars.
Believe me, I could go on and on. The point is, and should always be, be open and honest as to how your injury occurred, As to your prior injury and/or medical history and as to the severity of your current symptoms. Remember it is always harder to recall lies, than it is to remember the truth.
More importantly, in the area of litigation, you should always proceed as if the opposing person or party knows, in detail, your history, your lifestyle and activities, your past medical care and all of your previous injuries and claims–of any nature. Even an inexperienced attorney can catch you in a lie. An experienced attorney will learn the truth, will expose your misrepresentations,lies and half-truths and will impair the value of your case.
Likewise, judges, who are typically very knowledgeable and experienced former litigators are very adapt at recognizing false statements, false emotions and false motives. When, as in a Workers’ Compensation matter, the value of our case at trial is determined by a judge’s findings of fact and opinions, it is critical that you remain truthful, open, frank and honest. Do not over-embellish or exaggerate. You will be much more successful if you follow this advice. If there are any individuals that you know that have benefitted by not being honest, they are the exception and not the rule–by a long shot.
Finally, trust your attorney to make the most out of your case by providing him/her with an accurate and honest history of your prior injuries, accidents, claims and lawsuits.
If your attorney is aware of your history, then your attorney can, using those facts, help to assure that they can obtain the best award or settlement possible.If, on the other hand, your attorney is blind-sided because you were not truthful, you will have prevented that attorney from doing their best for you and your case. Be smart–be honest, and you will always, with the help of an experienced attorney, have the best chance of obtaining a more favorable award or settlement.
Written by Richard Irwin