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Tell Your Attorney Early on About Your Previous Car Accident Record

Posted D. Joseph Chapman on Nov 26, 2013 in Car Accidents

“Maybe I Should Have Told You This Before We Had a Jury...”

Lawyers hate surprises. We hate to be surprised by an inconvenient fact in the middle of a case. When we represent a client in the settlement conference room or in the courtroom, we like to believe that we know everything that is essential about the case. It’s important to be confident that we understand exactly what happened during the client’s Pennsylvania car crash.

When we learn a new detail at the eleventh hour, it may require a complete rethinking of how we will try to persuade the jury to grant our client the damage award he deserves. Of course, at that point, there simply may not be enough time to frame the case in another way. The end result may be that our client gets less than the full, fair compensation he deserves for his injuries.

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Cover up Your Previous Traffic Accident History

It should go without saying that you must answer all your lawyer’s questions fully and truthfully. But you shouldn’t limit communications with your lawyer merely to answering his questions; you should feel free to volunteer information that you think is important. Once you have hired an attorney to represent you, it’s important that you share with him any details that you might think may have a bearing on your case. Don’t restrict yourself to information about the recent Pennsylvania car accident that is the subject of your lawsuit—make sure to mention anything else that you believe may have a bearing on your case.

One of the key issues that ought to be discussed is your previous history of car accidents. Your attorney should know any of the following:

  • If you have ever been involved in a traffic accident before.
  • What your role was in this accident—driver, passenger or pedestrian.
  • Whether you were named as the person at fault for causing a prior accident, according to a police report, independent investigation, insurance report, or legal proceeding.
  • If your car insurance rates have ever increased because of your traffic accident history.
  • Whether you ever were injured in a prior traffic accident.
  • Whether you ever filed a lawsuit or received a settlement for injuries in a previous accident.

Many clients are reluctant to share this information. They may believe that their previous accident history is not relevant to their current case, or they may be embarrassed by their spotty driving records. Many believe that the record of their prior accidents won’t come up in their court case.

Yeah, Your Previous Driving Record May Be a Central Issue in Your Current Case

In fact, a previous history of involvement in traffic accidents can easily become a key issue in your current case. The defendant’s attorney may argue that your history of auto accidents in Pennsylvania and other states means you’re a bad driver and more likely to be the person responsible for causing the recent collision incident. The insurance company may try to argue that your injuries were not caused by the recent car crash but instead by one of your prior accidents.

Your lawyer will be able to refute all these arguments effectively if he knows what to expect. Do not try to conceal your past driving record and accident history. Tell your attorney everything—it will make your case even stronger.

The Harrisburg car accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer represent injury victims throughout central Pennsylvania, including Lebanon, Carlisle, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, and all nearby communities. Call us at 717-888-8888 or 888-476-0807 toll-free to set up a free, confidential case review, to get your questions answered, or to request a FREE copy of our introductory report, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident?