Having a past doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a claim. But honesty is key.
I meet with a lot of clients, or potential clients, who are concerned about making a very valid, worthy injury claim for fear of someone digging into their pasts.
This could mean uncovering a criminal history, a medical history, a mental health history, a history of trauma, etc. I’d be lying if I told you that these things don’t matter. Of course, they do, and I don’t believe in sugar coating.
But I’d also be lying if I said they are in and of themselves reasons not to seek redress when you’ve been wronged.
Be upfront about your background
Insurance companies (other than your health insurers) have access to an awful lot of information about us. They have knowledge about prior claims and frequently even prior medical treatment.
They also look into the backgrounds of those making claims against their insureds, the same way I perform background checks on the tortfeasors (at-fault parties) in my claims.
This is why at the very outset of my representation – at the initial meeting with my new client – I find out what sorts of things my clients have lurking in their pasts. Pure honesty is required. Those conversations with me are privileged. There is no judgment on my part. As your attorney, the information provides critical knowledge.
To effectively handle your claim, I need to know what might be thrown at me in defense of it. Too many times, despite my efforts, I’ve been blindsided by some bit of past information I was never told about.
Trust me, that is not a position you want to put your attorney into.
Knowledge is power for your attorney
Understanding the importance of being completely transparent with your attorney is absolutely vital. Honesty allows your attorney the information necessary to decide how to best navigate any potential issues.
If there is something in your past that you wish to remain hidden, for whatever reason, your attorney needs to know about it.
There are claims (for instance, mental anguish claims) that will inherently call for an inquiry into your past mental health treatment, diagnoses, etc.
I have plenty of clients who choose not to make any such claim simply because they do not want to re-hash, or expose, a past traumatic event for which they sought counseling, took medication, etc.
Your claims are divisible – you can make an injury claim without making a mental anguish claim. You can make a property damage claim without making an injury claim. You can make a past lost wage claim without making a future lost wage claim.
Your attorney knows the variables. And your attorney (with all of the necessary information) is best suited to guide you. Honesty truly is the best policy.