If you are like most people, you might meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss your accident and resulting expenses—and nothing else. After all, you might feel vulnerable enough being in a new situation or talking to a stranger about your bills. However, broaching some of the more sensitive topics might help you to improve your settlement so that you can get your life back on track. Here are two embarrassing topics you should discuss with your personal injury lawyer and how they could affect your lawsuit:
1: Your Recent Separation or Divorce
After dealing with an unfortunate accident and working through recovery, the last thing you probably want to bring up during your legal consultation is the difficulties you have been having with your spouse. However, is you have recently separated or divorced your spouse, and your breakup has anything to do with your accident, a judge might award you extra damages.
Loss of consortium claims are categorized as damages to relationships due to another person's negligence or wrongful acts. Although these claims are usually filed by a non-injured spouse who has been deprived of comfort, physical affection, companionship, or assistance, they can also be filed by the injured person. This means that if you were hit by a drunk driver and your injuries caused a rift in your relationship, your break-up could be factored into your personal injury settlement.
Although it might be uncomfortable, take the time to talk to your lawyer about your recent divorce or separation. Here are a few things you should talk about, and how to prove them:
- Timeline: For a claim to qualify as a loss of consortium, it needs to be a direct result of your accident. Because of this, separations or divorces that precede the accident will not be considered. Make sure that you know the exact dates of your finalized divorce or separation before you bring it to your lawyer's attention.
- Statements: Your lawyer will need information about how your accident is tied to your divorce. Write down or record any statements made by your spouse about how the accident has affected your relationship.
- Services Rendered: If your accident has made it hard for your spouse to work, take care of the home, watch the kids, or address your physical needs, talk about it with your lawyer. If your spouse's day-to-day routine was affected, and it ultimately led to your divorce, it can be factored into your loss of consortium claim.
If you would prefer to discuss the facts instead of talking at length about your feelings, briefly explain to your lawyer that your accident led to your divorce or separation, and provide your journal entries or recorded facts for additional information. That way, you can operate on a question-answer basis regarding your break-up, but your lawyer will still have everything they need to shape your case.
2: Your Ongoing Medical Issues
If you don't like talking about your personal health problems, it might be hard to bare your soul to a stranger—especially if your issues are uncommon, uncharacteristic for someone of your age, or could affect your ability to work in the future. However, because most insurance companies use a damages formula to calculate your settlement, being completely honest about your ongoing health issues is crucial to your case.
For example, most insurance companies multiply the sum of your medical expenses by a number between 1.5 and 5. If your injuries are relatively minor or you have completely recovered, the losses that you have accrued because of your injury might be multiplied by 1.5 or 2. However, if you suffer from ongoing medical problems, such as a brain injury, chronic pain, or severe depression, your losses might be multiplied by 3, 4, or 5. To put those numbers into perspective, mentioning that your medical issues are ongoing might double or even triple your personal injury settlement.
By biting the bullet and talking to your personal injury lawyer about everything that is bothering you—and not just the obvious facets of your case—you might be able to improve the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit.