Kenneth L. Hardison, who is our Of Counsel and personal injury attorney based in North Carolina, is here to share the four biggest lessons that accident victims must be aware of. Being a well-known and respected name in the field of law, he has come across many accident victims and is well-equipped to cover the mistakes they make during their consultation with an attorney.
About Kenneth L. Hardison
Kenneth Hardison is an experienced and accomplished injury attorney with over 27 years of legal expertise. He is highly regarded in the legal community, having been recognized for his outstanding achievements by various publications and organizations. Dedicated to providing his clients with the highest quality legal representation, Mr. Hardison offers a 30-day guarantee on his services.
Here are the four crucial mistakes accident victims must avoid.
1. Not Being Honest About Your Accident History
Do not try to hide past accidents from your lawyer. Once you begin a case, the other side will be interested in knowing how many past accidents you have had. The reality is that they probably already know the answer or at least have easy access to that information. All insurance companies subscribe to insurance databases that contain records of millions of accident claims, and often, the only reason they ask you this question is to test your credibility. If you have been in other accidents, your lawyer can investigate this and determine whether this is a valid problem in your case. But if you do not tell your lawyer and try to misrepresent your accident history to the insurance company, then you’ll almost be guaranteed to lose your case.
2. Not Being Honest About Your Injury History
Do not try to hide past injuries from your lawyer or exaggerate your injuries. It should go without saying that you need to be upfront and honest with your attorney about any injuries that occurred before or after this particular accident. Again, if you saw a doctor or other health care provider, then there is a record in existence that the insurance company will probably find. Your lawyer can deal with this if they know about it. If you lie about it and the insurance company finds out, your case will probably be lost.
Exaggerating Your Injuires or Not Being Completely Honest In Other Ways
If you haven’t worked on one side or the other of injury claims, you have no idea how incredibly much information the insurance company has about you. You are not going to get away with hiding anything, so don’t even try. They will find out if you lie about one little thing, and then they won’t believe anything else you say. This is true of juries also. One lie, even about a small matter, can kill your case – absolutely kill it. Have I made this simple point clear? From the instant you are injured until you have the final check in your hand, ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH.
Your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company have access to any past injury claims you have made – auto, job, and other. They have access to any past criminal record you may have. They have databases that will tell them all about your marriages, divorces, past addresses, and many past employments. They may hire investigators to park outside your house and video your comings and goings. I have seen insurance company surveillance tapes of my clients taking out the trash, mowing the yard, washing the car, etc. The insurance companies always try to say my clients aren’t really hurt because they can perform these simple activities. The insurance company investigator may follow you around town to see if you are working when you say you’re too injured to work. Once more – ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH.
Do be honest and forthcoming with your own insurance company. Even if it may seem embarrassing, it is better if your insurer knows all the facts. Failing to be candid with your insurer might invalidate your policy or cause a denial of coverage. This can ruin any potential claim under your insurance policy and give your insurance company an excuse not to defend you against any lawsuit the other party might try to make against you.
3. Not Being Honest About Your Income and Activity Level
- Income: Do not misrepresent your income. In many cases, a claimant will have lost income because of the accident. You may only be able to claim that lost income if your past tax returns are correct. You don’t want to risk claiming a loss of income only to have your past tax returns not back up your claim. Again, honesty with your attorney is essential because they can deal with the problem if informed beforehand.
- Activity Level: Do not misrepresent your activity level. Insurance companies routinely hire private investigators to conduct videotape surveillance. If you claim that you cannot run, climb, or lift, and you get caught on videotape, you’re going to have problems with your claim. There is no good explanation that can overcome the eye of the camera.
4. Not Being Honest About Your Criminal History and Medical Provider Visits
Do not try to hide the truth from your lawyer about a past criminal history or about drug or alcohol abuse. Once again, your lawyer can handle almost any problem if you tell your lawyer about the problem. If your lawyer is “ambushed” by the insurance company with such damaging information, your lawyer has no time to prepare a defense.
Tell your lawyer about every doctor you see. This is very important information for your lawyer; if you don’t inform them, you may miss out on recovering those specific medical bills.