Should I Hide An Old Injury Or Accident?
Hiding An Old Injury...Is That A Bad Idea...?
Something that came up recently just the other day and that is, never ever hide an old injury if you have a new case or have a new situation.
Never Hide An Old Accident
I guess there's a couple of possibilities, but in either scenario, never hide an old accident or an old injury. I'll tell you why, so I was presenting a guy for deposition the other day, and you know I prepare people for their depositions. In other words, a deposition is just a recorded statement. So, I like to prepare my people so that they're comfortable and they know what the deposition is and what kind of questions are asked. I’m very thorough in preparing people for their deposition and at no time during the prep, despite specifically being asked about old accidents, old injuries, old lawsuits, and old workers comp claims.
My client didn’t ever mention that he had another car accident three months before our car accident where he went to the hospital and saw his doctor and was prescribed physical therapy.
So, my point is whether it's the same part of the body that is hurt in the other accident or the same one or a different one it is very important. Why? Because insurance companies and insurance company lawyers always ask whether you've ever been hurt before, whether you've ever hurt that part of the body before, whether you've ever had a worker's comp, or a third party like car crash case, any kind of case or accident where you had an injury.
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The Insurance Will Know About Your Old Injury
It doesn't mean that you hurt yourself bad, it doesn't have to mean that you're permanently injured, but if you're in an accident with an injury you have to say something. Years and years and years ago, when I was a young lawyer, I became aware of some older guys at the time. Like guys who were probably around 30 when I started my law career or maybe a little bit younger than that, and there were guys who were probably about my age and a lot of times, you learn how to do things by watching other people and by being trained by them or having them sort of mentor. These guys were very good mentors, but the I am also talking about the older guy.
As he was prepping the client to say he never got hurt before, and he never had a lawsuit before even though he did. Now, insurance companies have computers that track claims, and they share data so if you have like a car crash case against all State Farm, they know it. And if you have one with Farmers, you know liberty mutual knows it so the idea that you're going to hide an old injury, or an old accident is crazy.
They're going to know about it, and guess what? If you go on record saying that it didn't happen, they're going to be able to impeach you. In other words, in front of the judge and jury, they're going to make you look like a liar.
If Not, You Can Get Impeached In Front of the Judge and Jury
I'm going to tell you if you or I look like a liar in front of a jury, no matter what the facts your case is, no matter how bad your injuries are, we will lose that case and that means a tiny verdict or no verdict at all. That's why I tell people you got to be honest. Maybe he forgot, that's what he says. He says he forgot about it but it’s hard to believe that he forgot about it when he went to the emergency room and made a claim with an insurance company and collected a settlement. Though it’s possible that he forgot about it, but it is never a good idea to hide or try and hide an old injury.
Now, why do i feel that way? Well, the negative part is what I just told you, if you lie on the record, they can impeach you. They can make it appear in front of the judge or jury that you're a dishonest person and that can kill your case.
It's A Strength For Your Case
But there's a positive reason, too. What do we know about old injuries? Let's say if you have a bad back and you're very physically active or you're for example like me rehabbing a house. What do we know about a person with a bad back? Well, we know two things, and everybody knows these things, you don't need a medical degree what are the two things if you already have a bad back. It's easier to hurt and if you hurt it, it's harder to fix. It takes longer to fix it's more medically complicated and it's easier to hurt and so that's why I always tell people look if you have an old injury to the same part of the body.
Rather than being a weakness, it's actually a strength, because the you know one of the major hurdles that we have, going to trial is convincing the jury that you're really hurt because a lot of your injuries are invisible or by the time we go to trial or go in front of a judge or a judge and jury for a hearing on your case, you look okay.
You're mostly recovered when you show up to the court, the jury can't look at you and say, “Oh yeah, he's got bad arthritis in his shoulder forever.” And if you walk in the courtroom, normally they say, “Okay, well he looks completely recovered to me, it's not a very big case.”
It's invisible to them, all the inconvenience, all the pain, all the graduation parties, all the weddings you missed, all the painful medical procedures, and all the physical therapy you had to do to get back to normal.
In some cases, surgery, all of that's invisible to the jury, your other option is to go in there and put on a show like develop a limp, hold your neck, wear a neck brace to court when you haven't been wearing one for a year. Well, you can't do that, juries see right through that stuff that's even worse than it being invisible to them. But if they know that you have an old injury that was made worse in the crash or the new accident, whether it's work related or whatever if it was made worse, the person who made it worse is fully responsible for the condition. So, that's not going to keep you out of court and it's not going to hurt your case. It's going to help your case, because it's easier for the judge and jury to understand,
“Okay yeah, this dude had a bad back and then this was like a relatively minor crash, and it made them worse.” Regular people can understand that so that's why you never want to hide an old injury or an old accident no matter what anybody tells you. If they're telling you any different, they're giving you the wrong advice, so hopefully this information help you.
I hope that answers your question and if you or a loved one needs a lawyer, please give me a call, you can reach me 24/7 at 312-500-4500.
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