Honesty is the Best Policy in Personal Injury Claims
- January 26, 2015
- Personal Injury
The vast majority of people that file a personal injury claim have absolutely no experience with the process and the laws that will help to determine the outcome of the claim. This lack of experience usually means that the individual will not know how to handle the different parts of the process and it can often lead to costly mistakes. Hiring a personal injury attorney will be one of the key steps in getting compensation, but even with a lawyer, there are actions that you should avoid.
How Lying can Sink your Personal Injury Claim
One of the mistakes that should be avoided above all is lying about any aspect of the injury claim. The percentage of personal injury claims that are outright fraudulent is small, but even legitimate claimants that are entitled to compensation sometimes make the mistake of lying or slightly shading the truth in their favor. While they may believe that this will help them to get more compensation or increase the likelihood that they will win their lawsuit, there is also a chance that dishonesty can damage the claim in ways that cannot be repaired.
First and foremost, you need to be honest with your attorney. If your lawyer does not understand or have all of the facts or if you provide them with an inaccurate representation of the situation, you are setting up a situation where the lawyer could be surprised by a fact that they did not foresee and in turn, may not be prepared to argue against. With that being the case, your injury lawyer really needs full and accurate disclosure of all of the facts whether they are good, bad or even unpleasant.
Lies of Commission and Acts of Omission
There are two basic kinds of dishonesty that can help to sink an injury claim; they are lies of commission or acts of omission. With a lie of commission, the individual is actively perpetuating a falsehood and with an act of omission, they are failing to disclose information that is relevant to the case. If a claimant engages in either of these activities, it can damage the claim or it could cost them some of the financial compensation that they would have legitimately been entitled to if they had just been honest and forthcoming.
Most Common Lies
Some of the most common lies or omissions will be related to the severity of the injuries or to how exactly the incident that caused the injuries occurred. You may think that exaggerating the injuries or concealing the fact that you have suffered a similar injury in the past will help the claim, but the defense will analyze your medical records and they will discover the exact truth and nature of the claim. Once you have been caught in one lie or omission, no matter how trivial, it can completely change the landscape of any further negotiation or litigation.
Being as honest as you possibly can is one of the best ways to ensure a fair outcome to a legitimate injury claim. In the case of not disclosing information, it is understandable that a claimant may forget a piece of information that might seem insignificant and therefore, forget to disclose. The best advice that you can get is to limit the information that you provide to the defendant and their insurer until you talk to your lawyer. Once you have provided the complete and accurate information to your injury attorney, let them handle the flow of information between you and the defense.