We all make mistakes. Getting in trouble with the law doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a bad person.
But a criminal record can still affect a person’s life in a variety of ways. Even minor criminal convictions such as traffic tickets can have negative impacts.
For the most part, a prior conviction should not affect a current personal injury claim. The only way your criminal history could affect your case is when it can be used as evidence against you in court. In this blog, our experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Kiefer & Kiefer will explain how your criminal history may be relevant and how you can still build a strong case.
Your criminal history may matter – if it’s relevant
There are a few factors that determine whether your prior convictions can be used against you in personal injury cases.
Generally, a prior criminal conviction will not be admissible unless it’s being used to bring your credibility into question or show a contradiction in your testimony.
It’s common for the defendant’s team to allege that your injuries are not as severe as you say they are. They can do this by trying to show you have a history of being dishonest. This is where your criminal history may be relevant. For example, if your criminal history includes fraud, like writing a bad check, the defendant team could show your injury claim cannot be trusted. If they can convince the jury, it could weaken your case.
When a witness is impeached, it means that evidence has been provided that contradicts the testimony of that person. For example, if a person testifies that they have always been a safe driver and practiced safe driving habits, evidence of a prior DUI conviction or other traffic convictions could be introduced to prove that the witness was lying.
What can you do about it?
Not all hope is lost. Having a criminal history doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your New Orleans personal injury claim. Here are the most important things you can do:
- Share your criminal history with us
If you do happen to have any prior convictions, the best thing you can do is hire our experienced attorneys and tell us the truth. We can provide advice and help you navigate through the process and choose the best litigation strategy. Depending on your history, we might suggest waiving a jury trial or expunging your record.
- Be upfront and honest in court
The only way offenses like these could really hurt you is if you deny that they exist, and you are caught in a lie. As long as you are honest about them, they should not have much bearing on your case. During the course of your personal injury litigation, you will be asked about your criminal history. When you are asked, it is important that you answer truthfully.
Note: the vast majority of personal injury cases never end up in litigation.
It’s in everyone’s best interests to settle a claim because trials can be expensive and take a very long time. Sometimes, though, injury claims have to go to trial. When this happens, you can trust us to handle your personal injury claim.
Contact our experienced Louisiana attorneys at Kiefer and Kiefer
When you suffer an injury, there are many steps along the way that may be missed without the right attorneys. Kiefer & Kiefer is a decades-old firm dedicated to helping New Orleans families recover from serious personal injuries. We care about our clients and support them through difficult situations. If you have a criminal history and are worried about your injury claim, talk to us. You can trust we’ll be dedicated to building the strongest case possible for you just as we have for all our clients. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.