July 25, 2024

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5 Mistakes That Will Derail Your Legal Case

The line between winning and losing a case can be incredibly thin. Often, it’s not just the strength of the case that determines the outcome, but also the approach and actions of the client. There are certain common mistakes that can significantly undermine a case, regardless of its merits. But what are these errors, and how can you avoid them to improve your chances of success?

How to Ruin Your Case

Nobody wants to find themselves in a legal battle or case. But they happen (and must be dealt with accordingly). Unfortunately, the pain of these legal battles is often compounded by costly mistakes. If you’re looking to ruin your case, the following mistakes are a pretty good road map for what to do. But if you’d like to enjoy a more successful outcome, you’d be better off avoiding them.

  • Not Hiring an Attorney

The biggest mistake is going with DIY representation. While you technically have this right, it’s not recommended. When you’re your own attorney, you’re basically a “sitting duck” for the other side. Their lawyers can easily pick you apart based on your lack of understanding of the intricacies of the case. It almost never makes sense to represent yourself. You’re going to be better off hiring a lawyer 99 times out of 100.

  • Hiring an Attorney With No Courtroom Experience

There are plenty of good attorneys to choose from in any city or state. However, not all attorneys are created equal. It’s one thing to have positive testimonials and have been in business for 20-plus years. It’s another thing to have the right kind of experience. 

Some attorneys have experience, but it’s only in the form of helping their clients reach settlements. Sometimes, cases shouldn’t be settled – especially when the other side is being unreasonable. If you have one of these lawyers, then what? 

Look for attorneys who have experience seeing cases through to trial and have a strong presence in the courtroom.

“Our reputation is that we will go to trial and that means our clients have real leverage, even when negotiating settlements,” HGC Law explains. But not every law firm is like this. Try to find one in your area that has the same mentality.

  • Being Inconsistent With Statements

If you want to undermine your case in one big swoop, try giving inconsistent statements. This is one of the fastest ways for the other side to pick apart your case and paint you as a dishonest figure.

It’s extremely important that you always give the same facts (and nothing but the facts). If you’re uncertain about something, or can’t remember specific details, it’s better to be upfront about this than to try and fabricate or guess something.

  • Hiding Information From Your Attorney

Your attorney is on your team. Your attorney is your advocate and is required to keep the things you tell them confidential (unless you both decide to make it part of the case). With that being said, hiding important information or details from your attorney is a big mistake that can cost you in a big way.

Your attorney can handle whatever you tell them. Be clear and detailed so that they can build a case that gives you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.

  • Posting About Your Case Online

Social media can be a minefield in legal cases. Even seemingly innocent posts can be taken out of context and used against you. 

For example, posting pictures of a vacation while claiming you’re injured in a personal injury case could undermine your claims. Or even a video of you laughing with friends when you’re experiencing emotional trauma can be used to make you look like you’re trying to mislead people.

When in doubt, it’s best to stay silent about your case on all social media platforms. Assume that anything you post online could end up being seen by the opposing party and used in court.

Move With Purpose and Precision

The irony of a legal case is that you have to be proactive, yet you can’t be sloppy. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but it has to be with purpose and precision. If you move without a plan, you end up hurting yourself more. But if you don’t move at all, well, that’s dangerous too.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is hire a lawyer whom you trust and work closely with them to develop and execute a strategy that you’re confident in. If you do this, you’ll avoid making many of the painful mistakes that so many people experience.