Unfortunately, it is all too common in Texas that attorneys dispense bad advice that can be incredibly harmful to a client’s legal claim against an oil company or refinery. Often, we will see an attorney, normally a young buck hoping to make it big by beating an oil company in court, give amateur and naive advice.
The problem is that litigating a case against a refinery is often an uphill battle that only experienced litigators can truly manage. What might work against a small business or auto insurance company will result in your claim becoming stonewalled by Texas oil’s well-paid attorneys.
Occasionally, we have helped clients who have received bad advice from other attorneys rescue their claims. Ultimately, our goal as attorneys is to help injured people, and so this article is meant to educate victims about bad strategy.
Have you or someone you know been involved in an oil refinery accident?
Reconsider the following “advice” given by attorneys that may hurt more than it helps:
- Keep a diary of your injuries: This is not inherently bad advice, but victims tend to keep bad diaries, which makes this bad advice. Most refinery accident victims skip days or poorly record their injuries. As a result, when the diary is actually used in court, it is more often used by the refinery to prove your injuries were not as bad as you claim.
- Exaggerate your injuries: Your injuries should speak for themselves. While you must still tell the doctor what hurts and how much it hurts, be careful about making things worse than they are. While it is important to remember the times you felt at your worse, and while it is true that only you can feel your pain, you must remember that there is a standard course of treatment for your type of injury. When you go way beyond the standard care of treatment, an already cynical jury may not believe that you really are that hurt.
- Tape record your conversation with the independent medical examiner secretly: Secret recordings are a terrible idea for two reasons. First, it wrongly assumes that the tape will be useful, which is rarely the case. Second, it sends the wrong signal to a jury, who will see the recording victim as a shrew who will do anything to win a lawsuit.
- Do not go back to work until you have to: Waiting too long to return to work reeks of play acting, and is a very transparent way of appearing to over exaggerate your injuries. Again, this comes off as very fake to juries and the refinery will take advantage of this.
- Never tell your doctor that you are getting better: The problem with this piece of advice is that it does not assume reality. If your doctors properly did their jobs, you will have healed at least some. If a jury thinks your doctors failed to even help you a little, they might start to think your doctor, not the refinery, should be responsible for your pain and suffering.
While these are the top five pieces of bad advice our law firm regularly hears about from clients, we love hearing other people’s war stories so we know how to better advise our future clients.
Call our law offices to share your own examples of bad legal advice you have received from an attorney if you were injured in a refinery accident in Texas. Our offices are located in Houston, Texas, and our firm regularly helps victims of refinery accidents recover compensation for their injuries in court.