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Auto Accident Victims Must Always Consider First Impressions

February 5, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

Top Mistakes Accident Victims Make: No. 3

Our personal injury lawyers believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. But auto accident victims with pending personal injury lawsuits should also remember that some opinions, whether political, religious or social, can offend or turn off jurors who do not share the same views. We have tried countless injury cases over the years, and if there’s one universal truth about winning trials, it is this: juries tend to help people they like, and tend to punish people they do not like. Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits must keep this in mind.

You Never Know Who Is Listening

Consider the recording you leave on your cell phone or answering machine. An insurance adjuster will likely be calling you repeatedly, and if he or she finds something questionable or offensive, it can affect how that insurance adjuster handles your claim. So prepare your greeting in a polite and respectful tone.

Of course, in the realm of innocent mistakes that car accident victims can make, your answering machine message is pretty minor in comparison to say, not documenting injuries, or posting certain information on MySpace or Facebook. But again, it’s always worth remembering that jury trials boil down to whether a jury finds you likable and credible. Juries tend to like people that are like them, and dislike people who are different. A rap song with lots of profanity and sexual innuendo as your cell phone greeting may not play well in Grand Rapids, which tends to be more conservative. But if you have Christian rock playing as your caller waits for the tone; a more liberal Wayne County jury from Detroit may have the same effect.

On another note, a client of mine neglected to change his message after his car accident, leaving his professional business voicemail greeting, even though he wasn’t working because he was disabled. The defense lawyer used the message against him in court, implying that he was still working and soliciting business. As I said, you never know who is listening.

Car Accident Victims Must Also Consider Video Surveillance

Outside of phone messages, accident victims must always think about the overall impressions they’re leaving, because if a defendant insurance company decides to conduct video surveillance, a jury will see facets of a plaintiff’s life that might have the potential to offend people, such as a pro-life or pro-choice bumper sticker on your vehicle. Remember, complete strangers may one day be sitting in judgment on your jury. Why risk offending people who will be asked to return proper compensation for your accident?

You have the rest of your life to express, as loudly as you feel the need to proclaim it, any belief you want. But for the year to year and a half after your car accident or truck accident, it’s vital to think about the impressions you make.

This blog post is No. 3 in a series on avoiding mistakes in a lawsuit, to protect clients from insurance company defense lawyers aiming to destroy honest, legitimate accident cases. Given so many confusing laws that can trap unsuspecting people and wreck havoc on a case, the best advice remains the simplest: Call your car accident attorney if you have a question. The best way to have a successful automobile accident case is through excellent communication with your lawyer.

To request a free, no obligation case evaluation from an expert car accident attorney, please fill out our consultation form and we will respond to your inquiry within one business day. Or to speak to an attorney immediately, please call (800) 777-0028.

— Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Billie/PartsnPieces

Related information:

Video: Do I have an Auto Accident Case?

What to Do Immediately Following a Car Accident

Dealing with Michigan Auto Insurance Companies

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008. For more information about Michigan Auto Law, please read our law firm quick facts.

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