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The 10 Worst Litigation Mistakes

The 10 Worst Litigation Mistakes

1. Don’t try to make your case better than it is. If your injuries have healed to the point where you can go back, go back to work. Juries like people who want to work, even through pain. Juries don’t like malingerers or people who try to milk the system.

2. Don’t lie to anyone. That includes your lawyer, your doctor or the opposing lawyer or doctor. Your lawyer needs to know the truth so that he/she can address any problems. If you hide the fact that you were in several prior accidents, that fact will eventually come out and you will look very bad and lose your lawyer’s confidence.

If you lie to your doctor, that too will be exposed. The insurance company’s lawyer typically subpoenas all of the medical records, going back several years in many cases. If you tell your doctor that you felt 100% great just before the accident and the records show otherwise, your case is in big trouble.

Similarly, don’t try to outsmart the insurance company’s lawyer or their doctor. These people are professionals and they are good at figuring out when a plaintiff is lying. Doctors can tell when a patient is not reporting symptoms accurately. For example, doctors measure range of motion in multiple ways. If you are trying to trick the doctor, and he/she sees inconsistent results, the medical report will brand you as someone who is out for “secondary gain” (money).

3. Pick the right lawyer (me of course). Don’t rely on an ad you saw on the Jerry Springer show. Don’t rely on the recommendation of someone who happens upon you at the scene of an accident, and even offers to drive you to the lawyer’s office. Do rely on the recommendation of someone you trust.

4. Don’t over-treat. When you feel better, stop going to the doctor. Juries like people who are reasonable in their treatment. If they think you are trying to cash in excessively, you will not do well at trial. You go into court with a target drawn on your back. Don’t give the insurance lawyer anything to work with. Excessive treatment is a big no-no.

5. Take photos at the scene of the accident. Photograph the cars, the scene, the insurance papers of the other driver(s) and anything else that seems relevant. If you suffer a slip and fall, photograph the ice or whatever it was that caused you to fall. Then get those photos to your lawyer at the first meeting.

Next time I will address five more mistakes litigants make.

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