The Importance of Being Honest With Your Attorney

Honesty is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship — it’s also key to winning your personal injury case. 

Sometimes, clients believe they will get a higher settlement if they withhold information, exaggerate their injuries, or just plain lie. This notion is entirely false. 

The only thing that lies, misrepresentations, and omissions can do for your case is destroy the trust between you and your attorney, erode your credibility, and give the jury a reason to invalidate your claim. In other words, lying is the surest way to lose a personal injury lawsuit.

The Truth Means the Whole Truth 

Clients may omit facts because they feel embarrassed or think that the truth isn’t in their favor. However, leaving out just one minor detail when you’re describing your accident or injuries to your attorney can undermine your chances of prevailing in your case and recovering compensation.

Were you on a phone call at the moment the other car crashed into you? You must truthfully reveal the circumstances surrounding the accident to your attorney so they know how to approach the facts when negotiating a settlement or preparing for trial.

Was the knee you injured in the slip and fall the same knee you hurt in another accident that occurred several years ago? Your attorney will be able to differentiate your current injury from any priors — but they have to know about them to be able to defeat the insurance company’s argument.

While the above situations wouldn’t necessarily prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve for injuries that were caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, a lie or omission very well could.

In a personal injury lawsuit, the truth generally comes out sooner or later, either through social media, medical records, testimony, or other evidence, and hiding relevant facts from your lawyer can do nothing but harm your case. By identifying the weaknesses and flaws in your case — and knowing about them before the opposing side finds out — a good attorney can develop a solid litigation strategy to maximize your chances of a positive outcome.

Honesty is the Best Policy — And the Best Way to Win a Case

In addition to helping your attorney strategize, getting the truth out in the open can humanize a plaintiff who is testifying before a jury in the courtroom. Juries like honesty, and they frequently it.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit we recently handled, our client had revision nose surgery to correct a prior nose surgery. During the procedure, synthetic implants were placed in her nose. Shortly after the surgery, our client developed a severe infection.

To respond to the infection, the doctor purportedly removed all of the implants which were placed in the nose in a subsequent surgery. Regardless, the infection raged on for two years. When our client sought a second medical opinion, she learned that a piece of the synthetic implant was not removed during the surgery and it remained in her nose, resulting in the infection. 

The doctor strongly defended the case by raising arguments that our client was a cocaine abuser, and that her drug use was the cause of the infection.

Rather than lie or deny the accusations, our client “fell on her sword” before the jury and admitted her past transgressions. 

Due to our client’s honesty, we won her case.

To counter the doctor’s defense strategy, we brought an infectious disease expert into court who testified that her prior cocaine use had nothing to do with the nose infection. We asked the jury to return a verdict of $2 million in her case.

The jury came back with a $4 million verdict instead.

Bottom line: Honesty is the best policy for a successful outcome in your personal injury case. 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Your candor is critical to obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to receive in a personal injury action. We have recovered millions in settlements and successful verdicts for clients in some of the most challenging cases by relying on the truth and the facts, even when they’re not the most favorable.  

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP have extensive experience fighting for the rights of injured workers to ensure they get the maximum compensation they deserve. Located in Manhattan, we have been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.