Don’t hide things from your attorney. For some reason, there are some clients out there who want to hide facts from their lawyer. One client wanted to hide from me the fact that she was smoking pot at the accident scene. Well, the insurance company found out because it was in her medical records from the hospital! If she had told me about this information, there may have been ways to deal with it.
Another time, a client came by for an initial consultation. I asked her about her work duties. She said, "Why do you need to know that?" Then I asked her about her past accidents. She replied, "Well, how is that important?" I knew from the get-go that this client was not the right fit for me. She was very reluctant to answer my questions. She viewed me as the enemy and wasn't forthcoming with information. I don't ask these questions because I'm nosy! I ask these questions because the information gathered helps me evaluate the case.
Some clients hide previous accidents from their attorneys. In many cases, the clients make the sole determination the accident must be irrelevant and therefore they either fail to mention it or the deliberately hide it. Again, this is not going to help your lawyer prepare for your case. If you’re hiding things from your attorney, you have bigger problems. The information is going to come to light at some point. If you tell your attorney about the matter, your attorney will be better equipped to handle it. Once litigation begins, they will indeed have the right to that information and they will find out.
If you go to the doctor's office for an exam, you have to tell your doctor what's going on. This isn't the time to play games. Therefore, the lesson to be learned is to not hide anything from your attorney because it simply doesn’t help anyone. The other lesson here is that sometimes, your lawyer may not be right for you. However, there are times when the client may not be a good fit for the lawyer. It's a two way street.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.