Most personal injury cases can be settled without going to court, but sometimes there is no other recourse. If your case goes to trial, the best outcomes occur when you listen to your lawyer and follow their advice. But should you wish to lose your case, here are the top five things you should do.
- Exaggerate your injuries while testifying.
Everyone knows the judge and/or jury loves a good sob story, right? WRONG! Accurate and complete testimony is your best friend. If you walk upright to the stand and then claim your life is ruined because you’ll never be able to hold your grandchild in your arms again, you won’t be taken seriously. If the photos of your accident clearly show damage no worse than a dented bumper, you may reasonably claim injuries but let’s not say the accident was an eleven on a scale of ten.
- Lie to your lawyer.
Do you love surprises? Well, your lawyer does not. Your lawyer expects a full and complete representation from you and is not going to search the internet or Facebook posts to verify your story, but the opposing counsel will. Don’t tell your attorney, “I never said anything on social media that would have an influence on my case” only to discover in court that you uploaded a video of your 6-mile jog carrying a weighted backpack two days after the accident. When you’re claiming a life-limiting back injury, that doesn’t mesh well with the online evidence.
- “Forget” to mention your outstanding child support lien or unpaid tax lien.
Even if your child support lien is in another state, it will be discovered by the court. The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement maintains a database that tracks all injury settlements over $3000. Disclose your child support lien and give your lawyer the best opportunity to represent you in a way that best meets your needs.
- Act belligerent.
You are paying your lawyer to “argue” your case. You will lose the support of the judge and/or jury if you are unruly, profane, or argumentative in court. This also applies to depositions because they may be read at court. Keep your eye rolls to yourself. And remember, it’s not your job to jump up and yell, “I object.” Your lawyer will handle the legal stuff.
- Hire a lawyer who doesn’t focus his/her practice on personal injury.
Your next-door neighbor may be the world’s best real estate attorney, but he/she doesn’t practice personal injury law. The Law is a complicated field, and you need a lawyer who practices personal injury law every day. Personal injury lawyers know how to get the best result for you.
One last word, remember the saying quoted by Abraham Lincoln, “A man who represents himself, has a fool for a client.” You may have watched every episode of Law and Order (and the spin-off series), Perry Mason and Blue Bloods, but you can’t believe everything you see on television. The court scenes are tense and dramatic, but maybe not so realistic. Consider hiring a good lawyer.