Let me begin with a confession: I married a defense lawyer. Well, a former defense lawyer. She has since left the "dark side" and joined our firm. But before she found the light, she was involved in all types of injury cases for insurance carriers and major corporations. Below is list of some of the things she used to love to uncover in her cases as it typically lowered the amount of compensatory damages her clients would have to pay (and sometimes destroy the case entirely).
1. Plaintiffs (the injury victim who brings the lawsuit) who are inconsistent in their reports of how their injuries affected them. For instance, one injury victim claimed his injuries prevented him from cleaning his house yet records subpoenaed from his health club showed he was consistently able to go to the gym and work out.
2. Plaintiffs who refuse to concede that ANY of their problems have improved since the accident. While there are definite exceptions, most things tend to improve with time. They may never go back to pre-accident status, but they do get better.
3. Plaintiffs who failed to report prior injuries or treatment. One of the best places to discover this information is through pharmacy records, which list every doctor who has prescribed the plaintiff medication. If the plaintiff did not disclose them, more than likely, she found them anyway and could easily argue the plaintiff hid the information.
4. Plaintiffs who lied about their criminal history. Oftentimes, the criminal conviction itself was not admissible because it was a misdemeanor or the conviction was too old. But, the failure to disclose the criminal conviction became fair game on cross-examination as it went to the plaintiffs credibility.
5. Plaintiffs who were not compliant with their doctor’s advice. For example, plaintiffs who did not attend their physical therapy visits as prescribed.
6. Plaintiffs who exaggerated their injuries. Many jurors see exaggeration as a blood-relation to a lie. So, if they think you are exaggerating about one thing, it is not too much of a leap for them to think you will lie about something else.
So, here is the take-away: the best things you can do for your case are (1) follow your doctor’s advice; (2) do everything you can to get better; and, (3) tell the truth and nothing but the truth. And, if you can, marry a defense lawyer, particularly is she is smart, beautiful, and a great cook.