When you are planning to meet with an auto accident attorney in Houston, TX, you should be prepared to disclose details regarding the accident, your health, and your finances. While conversations concerning elements of your personal life might make you feel uncomfortable, attorneys can only represent you to the best of their ability if they can have open discussions with you.
Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Tell My Attorney?
While is important to use discretion when discussing your accident with the insurance company or the other driver, you can be completely open with your attorney. He or she represents your interests exclusively and can even handle most of the communications with the other parties involved in the investigation.
Even if you feel that your attorney is asking questions about topics that aren’t relevant, such as any financial hardships or preexisting medical conditions you might be facing, you should answer completely and honestly. Additionally, if there are details in your story that might imply you were partially at-fault for the accident, you should share them without hesitation. Your attorney will only use the information you give to strengthen your case and prepare for the defense’s counterarguments.
Why Should I Feel Comfortable Being Completely Honest With My Attorney?
There are aspects of our legal system that are designed to ensure that clients can have candid conversations with their attorneys. By law, your attorney can never be required to reveal any incriminating information about you. Additionally, he or she may only use the information you share to facilitate the best possible outcome for your case.
The Attorney-Client Privilege
The attorney-client privilege is a long-standing tenet of Anglo-American jurisprudence that is fully recognized by the state of Texas. According to the attorney-client privilege, all communications between a lawyer and the person he or she represents are completely confidential.
Furthermore, the attorney cannot be compelled to disclose anything the client reveals, nor can the attorney voluntarily share information that was discussed in confidence. Additionally, the attorney is bound to use all the information he or she gathers while working on a case to advance the client’s best interest. The attorney-client privilege applies to verbal conversations, emails, text messages, and all other forms of communication.
Your Attorney’s Duty to Act in Your Interest
The Bar Association sets protocols and rules of conduct that attorneys in Texas must uphold. A lawyer who fails to comply with these regulations faces disciplinary action and even the loss of his or her ability to practice law. Among the ethical standards set by the bar is the requirement that attorneys act in the best interest of their clients at all times. Accordingly, an attorney may not deliberately use any information you reveal in ways that could compromise the outcome of your case.
Apart from considering the laws and professional standards that protect the relationship between attorneys and their clients, you should choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable with, personally. During the initial consultation, your lawyer should show you that you can feel at ease discussing the sensitive details of your case and working through complex legal scenarios together. The best lawyer for your case is often the one whose communication style matches your own.
What Kinds of Sensitive Information Might Come Up in Conversations With My Attorney?
Securing a settlement offer from a car accident claim or winning a personal injury lawsuit will require your lawyer to prove that you sustained damages because the other driver acted negligently. You and your lawyer will need to provide evidence to back your statements while preparing to fight any tactics the insurance company could use to devalue your claim. Your lawyer can only prepare your case effectively if you are willing to talk about:
Your Medical History
Your lawyer will need to know if you had any preexisting medical conditions at the time of the accident. While a preexisting condition will not prevent you from obtaining damages for the aspects of your injuries that were caused by the accident, the insurance company might try to make the case that your current condition is entirely a result of your ongoing health issues.
Your lawyer can work to differentiate between the harm caused by the accident and the pre-existing condition. Compiling evidence might include obtaining your medical records in order to show that your condition was stable by the time the accident occurred. In addition to compensation for new injuries, you are entitled to seek damages for any aggravation the accident caused your preexisting condition.
Your Financial Health
While it can be awkward to talk about money, your attorney will need to know if your finances have been affected by a divorce, bankruptcy, or another hardship. Payouts from settlements and jury awards can be affected by liens placed by creditors, and it is important for your attorney to structure your payout in a way that protects your financial interests while complying with all state and federal requirements.
Your Criminal Record
If you have a history of driving offenses, the insurance company or the other driver’s legal team might try to use your record to argue that you were at fault for the current accident, either partially or entirely. This strategy is based on the fact that juries tend to question the credibility of drivers who have broken the law in the past. Your lawyer can only mitigate the effects of your record if he or she knows the details regarding your convictions.
Your Full Recollection of the Accident
When you look back on the accident, you may recall some details indicating that you were partially at fault. You may also believe that some of the things you remember are irrelevant. Whatever you remember, you should share your full story with your attorney. As a trained legal professional, he or she will be able to identify opportunities for the defense to argue against you. He or she will then focus the investigation on disproving their arguments.
Use Discretion With Other Parties
While your confidentiality is protected in conversations with your attorney, you should be extremely careful about the statements you make to any other party. The insurance company can use any statements you make to reject your claim or lower its value. Never give an official statement to anyone without having your attorney help you draft it first.
When communicating about the accident, stick to the facts and avoid opinionating or theorizing about what happened. Your attorney will be able to do most of the communication on your behalf, including negotiating with the insurance company and speaking with the other driver’s attorneys. Whenever possible, route questions and requests through the law firm you are working with rather than responding directly.
Find an Auto Accident Attorney You Can Trust in Houston, TX
We believe in open communication with our clients. Our aim in discussing the details of your accident is to gain information that can help us secure a settlement offer and maximize your compensation. Not only will choosing a trustworthy attorney make submitting your claim go more smoothly, but it can also make the process more comfortable for everyone. To discuss your case with an auto accident attorney in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC.