Some at-fault drivers may lie to police or their insurer about the events in a crash. This could have a damaging impact on a victim trying to recover damages in a Maryland injury claim
At Goldberg Finnegan, we are prepared to help you after a crash you did not cause. If the party who caused your collision is lying about what happened, you may still have legal options. However, it is critical that you call a qualified attorney for legal help right away to avoid mistakes that could make matters worse.
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Could My Injury Claim Be Denied if the At-Fault Driver Lies About the Crash?
Unfortunately, yes. It is possible. In Maryland, plaintiffs (injured victims) cannot be even one percent liable for causing the crash. If they have contributed to the incident at all, they are fully barred from recovering any of their losses. Therefore, if the other driver lies about what happened, it could easily cause your claim to be denied.
This may seem confusing, especially if the other party was fully at fault. However, an at-fault driver may be able to cast just enough doubt to get his or her insurance company to assess you with some amount of the fault.
To further complicate things, the state’s contributory negligence law may often tempt an at-fault driver to lie about a crash. Insurance companies also benefit if they do not have to pay out on a claim.
What Can I Do if the At-Fault Driver Lies?
Hearing or finding out that the at-fault driver lied about what happened will understandably anger or upset you. However, the worst thing you can do in that situation is react. That would only make you look bad rather than casting any doubt on the other driver’s false statement. This is just another reason why, especially in a complicated car crash claim, you should seek legal help immediately after a crash.
Some additional things you can do in this situation:
- Remain calm: Reacting or arguing with the at-fault driver will not help you. Think of it this way: arguing, whether at the scene or later, makes you look bad. Regardless of any points you make, you are not likely to get the other driver to change his or her mind or story.
- Call 9-1-1: If they are not already on the scene, contact police immediately. This is a good idea for many reasons. For one, even if the other driver makes a false statement, you will have a documented report of the accident. Other evidence on the report may also help to corroborate your story.
- Take crash scene photos: If you are physically able and can do so safely, take pictures of the crash scene as a whole. Also try to capture the damage to each individual vehicle, road debris and other crash scene evidence. Never put yourself or others in danger to get these images. A crash scene investigator will also be documenting the scene.
- Speak to witnesses at the scene: If there are witnesses at the scene, try to get their contact details and a statement about what they saw. If you hire an attorney, he or she can follow up with them soon after to get more details.
- Be consistent: More than anything else, be completely honest and consistent when you give your statement. Credibility is critical in any injury claim. Someone who is lying about what happened will have to work harder to remember details. If your account is different from the other driver’s, consistency could help to build your credibility.
You do not have to attempt this legal process on your own. We strongly recommend that you speak to a licensed attorney further to discuss your situation.
Why Do At-Fault Drivers Lie After a Car Crash?
At-fault drivers may lie to police at the crash scene and to their insurance company. These individuals are trying to shift blame for a reason. Often, it is to avoid the consequences of breaking a traffic law and potentially getting points added to their license. Others may simply want to avoid having their insurance premiums go up or paying for the damages they caused.
What At-Fault Drivers May Lie About
At-fault drivers who caused a crash while breaking a traffic law may worry about the consequences if they are found out. Depending on the violation, it could result in a ticket, fines, serious penalties or even jail time.
Some of the biggest traffic violations at-fault drivers may lie about include:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Excessively speeding
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Getting behind the wheel while drowsy
- Failing to signal when turning or changing lanes
- Distracted driving behaviors, such as texting
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Committing acts of road rage
Penalties for Lying to the Insurance Company
Making false statements to the insurance company is a huge risk. A person caught and convicted could face serious penalties. In fact, someone convicted of purposely making a false statement to the insurance company could face:
- Jailtime – 18 months for a misdemeanor and up to 15 years for a felony
- Hefty fines – up to $10,000
- Other administrative and civil penalties may also be possible
Call Our Firm Today to Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Did the other driver involved in your car crash lie about events in your car crash? If so, we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
At Goldberg Finnegan, we are prepared to help. We also have the staff and resources to fully investigate the crash and gather evidence that supports your claim.
If we find you have a claim, our experienced Silver Spring car accident lawyers are ready to work tirelessly on your behalf. There is nothing to pay up front or any fees while we work your case.