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Free Consultations

(212) 697-9280

Free Consultations

(212) 697-9280



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Can Your Past Affect the Outcome of Your Court Case

Jun 15, 2015 | Personal Injury FAQs

You have some Skeletons in Your Closet

There is something in your past that does not look good, and that something you know is going to come out during the course of your personal injury case. What can your attorney do, to minimize the effect of what happened to you in the past is not going to destroy your case or your credibility.

Personal Accident Case

Past injuries should never be concealed during a personal injury trial.

Something bad happened to you in the past, and you know that if the jury finds out, it could destroy your credibility. Secondly, the defense knows about this and he is going to do everything possible to tell the jury about it. Hence, what is the one important thing your attorney can do to take away the defense’s thunder and lightning that you know can strike at any time?

The most Acute & Favorable Strategy

The answer is simple. Your attorney will have to tell the jury first. In fact, if your attorney were experienced he would tell the jury about your past, during the jury selection itself. He will start the conversation with the potential jurors by saying that something about his client’s past needs to be discussed. Alternatively, your lawyer could tell the jury about your past, during the opening remarks. He might even warn the jurors that what he is going to reveal about his client is nothing to smile about, but the risk is even greater if you try to hide this information.

The strategy is that your lawyer should be the first one to tell the jury, without bothering about how bad or horrible your past looks. When your lawyer is the first one to reveal your closet skeletons, it will steal the defense’s thunder. Your lawyer will be taking away the surprise element; otherwise, the defense lawyer can be dramatic and create a terrible impression about you with the jury.

Your attorney will want to see if a jury member has the capacity to put that information behind them and only focus on what is the issue at hand. You do not want jury members on your jury that do not know how to separate the two.

For instance, the defense lawyer might get up after your attorney has made his opening remarks, and tell the jury there is something about the plaintiff that his lawyer has not revealed to the jury. This will get the full attention of the jurors. And when this attorney begins to speak about something you did in the past that is unbecoming of a decent human being, you may have lost all credibility with these jury members. The chances of you obtaining a fair verdict would have subsided almost completely.

This is why you want to come clean right in the beginning.

Building Credibility

Everything an attorney strives for during a trial is to build up the credibility of his client. It is to show that all the facts are supported by the evidence presented in the case. If your lawyer hides something that you did in the past and does not bring this information up in the beginning and when he has the opportunity to do so, the risk to your case is magnified.

The defense attorney is going to take advantage of this information and he will show the jury that you are trying to hide something from them. Even though this information has nothing to do with the current claims you are making in this case, it will still matter to the jury because of the fact you were trying to hide information that could define your character or at least your character in the past. Therefore, a stellar attorney will always try to reveal anything damaging about your past before the defense is able to do so.