If you’ve been in a car accident in Tampa and you have a criminal record, you may have questions about whether or not that can affect your personal injury claim. In most cases, having a criminal record is irrelevant to a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of motor vehicle accident.
However, there are some instances and factors that can play into having a criminal record that could affect your personal injury claim. The best way to find out exactly where you stand and how your criminal record could affect your personal injury claim is to speak with a knowledgeable Tampa personal injury lawyer. In this article, we’ll touch on some basic information regarding what you can expect if you do have a criminal record and a personal injury claim – more specifically, what type of criminal records can have a greater impact on your claim than.
What Type of Criminal Record Do You Have?
If you committed a crime in the past that involves dishonesty or fraud, that could negatively impact your case by making you lose credibility. For instance, let’s say your criminal record shows you were previously involved in forging checks or lying under oath. That is a huge red flag as far as a person’s character and their trustworthiness. Furthermore, if it’s clear you’ve committed theft, fraud, or some other crime that compromises your integrity, that won’t make you look very good.
Many fraud cases, especially those involving state or federal agencies, will hurt your credibility because it shows you are ok with lying. Let’s say you got convicted for Social Security Disability or Medicaid fraud. If the opposing party’s insurance company looks into your criminal record and finds that you have one, they will definitely try to use that to discredit you. Dont’ worry too much, as we have helped clients in the past with criminal records successfully win their personal injury case without their record being a problem.
However, one final note is that the insurance company might be more likely to offer you a lower than usual settlement ( which they usually do anyway); but with a criminal record, they would use that as leverage against you. This could potentially end up pushing your case to trial because they don’t want to settle with you and give you a fair amount.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Tampa Your Personal Injury Claim If You Have a Criminal Record
As the plaintiff in a personal injury case (the party making a claim against the other party for damages), you need a good lawyer. An experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer can help mitigate facts that the insurance company or opposing counsel will bring up to paint a picture that you are an unreliable or untrustworthy person.
They may even be able to file a motion to exclude the evidence of your criminal record from court to avoid distracting the jury with an irrelevant criminal record that happened many years ago.
The at-fault party might try to use your criminal record as a way to say, “hey, this person has committed a crime in the past, so they are not credible”. They won’t say that you were a juvenile when you committed the crime or that it happened over a decade ago; they’ll just bring it up and use it against you, or at least try.
The fact of the matter is that you really need to consider how long ago the crime occurred, how old you were, the circumstances of the offense, and the penalty. It doesn’t feel fair to bring up a petty theft crime you committed over a decade ago when you were a teenager which now comes up as a means to discredit you while trying to seek compensation that is rightfully yours.
Is the Opposing Party Allowed to Bring Up My Criminal Record in Court?
It;s best to ask these questions to your attorney. Depending on the type of criminal record you have, your lawyer could ask that it is prohibited from being brought up in court. Most of the time, a good lawyer can make this happen. They have experience dealing with all types of people who have unique cases and their individual personal histories.
Having an attorney who can fight to ensure your criminal record doesn’t get discussed in court can be a huge determining factor in the final verdict for your case. Most of the time, your criminal history won’t affect your personal injury claim too much. But again, it depends on the nature, recency, and degree of the crime you committed. That said, if it’s irrelevant to the case, most judges won’t allow the opposing counsel to bring it up in case.
For a Case That Stands on Its Own, You Need a Good Attorney
If you have a criminal record and really want to cover all your bases to make sure you get the damage compensation you deserve, hire a Tampa car personal injury lawyer. In case, a strong personal injury case will stand on its own; if you’re severely injured, missing work, having piling medical bills, and trauma from the accident, the law will serve you justice. In the end, you’ll get the compensation for damages and losses you need to recover, but having a lawyer fighting for your best interest will always increase your odds of getting the most desirable outcomes.
Whether or not your criminal record comes up during your personal injury claims process, it’s pretty hard for the insurance company to use an outdated and irrelevant criminal record against you while you’re injured, losing money from missed work, and suffering from accident injuries.
If You Do Have a Criminal Record in Tampa…
So, let’s say you do have a criminal record. Now what? You may be understandably worried and have some anxiety about whether it will come up and become an issue for your case. It’s a valid concern – we all know the feeling of past decisions coming back to haunt us. When the implications of your past actions are unclear or confusing, that can make matters even more stressful than they already are, and personal injury cases are usually not a walk in the park for most injury victims.
First and Foremost: Be Honest With Your Lawyer About Your Criminal History
Even if you committed an offense when you were an adolescent, tell your lawyer about it. They need to know about anything on your record so they can be prepared for whatever comes up from insurance companies or the at fault party’s legal team.
As long as you are upfront and honest from the beginning, your attorney can take the correct steps to prevent any unexpected hiccups and plan strategically to be prepared for anything. Remember, there are some crimes that can have a greater effect on your case and your credibility, so be very detailed when you explain your criminal record history to your lawyer. Whatever the case, your attorney will be able to reduce the effect of any past criminal record on your current personal injury case, or even have it completely barred from being discussed in court.
Prepare to Be Questioned About Your Criminal Background
In case the defense attorneys ask you questions about your criminal record, you need to be prepared. They might ask you questions after you file a suit or during the deposition. A deposition is where you give a sworn testimony and the defense has the opportunity to ask you questions.
They can ask you any questions they want, including details about the personal injury case and your prior criminal history. You’ll need to own it if you do have a criminal record, however embarrassing or uncomfortable it may be.
If you are questioned about your criminal background during the deposition or in court, you can’t lie. You have to answer honestly and answer any additional questions they have for you. From the opposing party’s perspective, if you’re willing to lie about that, what else are you willing to be dishonest about? Being honest is always best as it will give you credibility, despite having a criminal history. And protecting your good name in a personal injury case is vital.
Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Having a criminal record in Tampa could affect your personal injury case, but with the right lawyer, it shouldn’t have too much of an impact. Seek advice from a trusted and skilled Tampa personal injury lawyer to get the right answers for your unique case. They will also be your best advocate for winning the maximum compensation for your injuries, whether or not you have a criminal history.
Our legal team is experienced in helping and successfully handling all types of personal injury cases. We’ve helped people with criminal records in the past successfully win their personal injury case and walk away with the rightful compensation they deserved from the accident that was caused by a negligent defendant. We can help you determine the best way to approach your case and devise a winning strategy.
Call us today for a free initial consultation.