If you have a personal injury case, you might feel that you have no control. Everyone else has the power – the attorneys, the insurance company, the judge, or the jury. But that is not entirely true. You do have some power. You have the ability to avoid the mistakes that can cause you to lose your personal injury case. It doesn’t matter if you were injured in a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, motorcycle accident or any other type of serious injury. In every personal injury case, there are missteps you should avoid.
So what are those mistakes? Based on the experience of our Miami personal injury attorneys here are the top five:
1. NEVER TELL A LIE
Simply stated, a lie can kill your personal injury case. Obviously the big lies are easy to figure out. Not disclosing a previous car accident. Saying you never sued anyone before. Testifying that you never made a claim for injuries before today. But it doesn’t have to be a big lie either. It can be small lies, omissions or half-truths. The insurance companies and their attorneys are always looking for the lie. It is the essence of insurance defense. Give an insurance defense lawyer one lie and all the jury will hear is “the plaintiff lied about this, how can you believe anything he says”. Sometimes the defense attorney gets lucky and discovers a big lie. Those are easy trials to win. But the experienced defense attorney can take lies of omissions, shading of the truth, or simple mistakes and turn a trial into death by a thousand cuts. The insurance defense lawyer will calmly list all of your mistakes and simply ask a jury how in the world can they believe anything you say.
2. DON’T EXAGGERATE
If you have a damaged bumper, don’t describe the impact as a nuclear explosion. If you were knocked unconscious, it is unlikely you will know how long you were out. Don’t claim that you had a near death experience when you fell on your butt. You get the idea – don’t exaggerate. Insurance defense attorneys love exaggerations. The bigger the better. When your testimony is taken, a skilled insurance defense lawyer will act very interested in the facts of your loss. They will make eye contact. Appear sympathetic. Make you feel like finally, someone believes you. You were in a car accident or a slip and fall a year ago. Your attorney listens to you but that is his or her job. No one has apologized or taken responsibility. In fact, you probably haven’t heard from anyone from the defendant’s side since your accident. Now here is this empathetic and comforting defense attorney. She understands. He feels your pain. Except they don’t. They are competitors and they want to win their case – and that means you may get nothing. Always remember, in personal injury lawsuits, the insurance defense lawyer is never your friend.
3. DON’T MINIMIZE
If you had a prior accident and you were injured, tell the truth about it. Nothing more and nothing less. If you had prior pain in the same area of the body that you injured in this accident, tell the truth. The law is not unforgiving or unreasonable. Florida law allows for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. It provides a way for a jury to understand that you had back pain before the accident, but because of the accident it is now worse.
So how do you avoid these mistakes? First, select the right lawyer who has the experience to prepare you for your deposition and trial. Second, tell your personal injury attorney the whole truth about everything. Experienced lawyers can deal with almost any fact, so long as they know about it in advance. Good attorneys don’t want you to lose your case because of a mistake. If you help them, they will help you. Third, avoid absolutes. Never say “never” or “always”. Few things in life are black and white but rather shades of grey. Always say the truth and that means saying that your answer is to the best of your recollection. No one is perfect and few if any people have perfect recall. So be accurate to the best of your recollection at the moment you are testifying.
MIAMI PERSONAL INJURY LAWERS
Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys represent people who are seriously injured in all aspects of personal injury and wrongful death. The Wolfson Law Firm in Miami has been helping personal injury and the families of wrongful death victims for over 60 years. Jonah Wolfson is a bilingual personal injury attorney in Miami and is available to speak to you now. The personal injury attorneys of the Wolfson Law Firm represents clients in Little Havana, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Lauderhill, Bal Harbor, Mid Beach, North Beach and all of the proud local neighborhoods and communities of South Florida.