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Honesty is the Best Policy

I have often been asked if a client’s return to work shortly after being injured will compromise the case. I am proud to say that I always answer, “Do what you feel you are capable of doing and don’t let the case influence you.” Honesty is the best policy in our actions and deeds. This is not simply a naïve view. In addition to the ethical requirements that govern a lawyer who answers this question, the practical considerations dictate being honest.

Defense lawyers and the insurance companies by whom they are hired are trained to detect malingerers. Often that is their mindset. As a result, any client can expect dozens of questions probing why they returned to work when they did. The defense cross-examiner will have the benefit of all related medical records and work records, and will spend ample time reviewing those records for any inconsistency. There is nothing better than a client who can answer questions ‘ whether they be posed suspiciously or not ‘ with a polite but firm and truthful answer. Far better to return to work on the early side, if medically possible, than to sit at home, both emotionally and for purposes of the case.

As an example, I proudly recall arguing to a jury about a particular client’s special qualities when, after a serious brain injury and surgery, he returned to work only three months after his terrible accident and never missed another day. It allowed me to speak of the triumph of his spirit and it cast him in a very favorable light, a light that he well-deserved.

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