Entourage provides a good frame of reference. If you haven’t watched the series, you should. But it’s not essential to understanding this newsletter.
A lot of people go to counseling. Sometimes individual counseling. Sometimes couples counseling.
People love their counselors. Maybe as much as they love their chiropractors. (It probably has something to do with addressing them both on a first-name basis.)
But counselors and counseling records can wreak havoc in personal injury cases and make my head hurt.
Here are the top three ways that counselors and counseling records hurt personal injury cases and what can be done about it.
- Counselors love to provide legal advice. Most counselors are scared of the court room and have never testified. But they love to give legal advice (like chiropractors). Unfortunately, the advice is almost always wrong. If you have legal questions, ask your lawyer.
- Patients tell counselors about their cases and that information ends up in the counselor’s notes. It’s just fine to see counselors. In fact, I think everyone would benefit from counseling or even a forum where they have to talk about what’s affecting them. Talk therapy is very powerful. But it doesn’t make sense to tell your counselors that you’re very disappointed that the defendant offered $X but that you’d be willing to take $X + $10,000.
- Counselors create all sorts of obstacles to obtaining records. There’s always going to be uncomfortable stuff in counseling records. Either it’s relevant or it’s not. If it’s not relevant, it’s not coming into evidence. If it is relevant (and either helpful or hurtful) we need to work it into our narrative. Counselors frequently refuse to provide records. The only thing that does is increase the other side’s interest in them (and the other side assumes that there’s something we want to hide). I think all records should be handed over on a “here you go” basis.
If you have questions about what you should or shouldn’t say during counseling or other appointments feel free to give us a call. Otherwise, the Golden Rules are: tell the truth, answer the question being asked and if you don’t know, can’t remember or aren’t sure, say those things.