The Legal Consequences of Lying About Auto Accidents

by Ladyblogger on September 10, 2013

Automobile accidents can present a very hectic scenario immediately following the event. Drivers regularly disagree on the particulars of an accident, such as who was driving or violated the law of vehicular control, so the police officer must interview everyone involved in some manner during the investigation.

This can be problematic when an accident victim is hospitalized or incoherent, which is a common situation. Visiting the injured party after they been treated or regained consciousness may be a reasonable alternative, even when the victim has little or no memory of what transpired, but may prove futile.

For this reason, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional proficient in the laws of the state the accident occurred.

For example, in the event of an accident involving a resident of Florida or a tourist visiting the city of Orlando, they might contact an auto accident attorney Orlando law firm or other Florida legal team to litigate on their behalf. This is especially true if the injured party cannot recall the full account of the accident.

Police Statements

The inability to recall what happened can make filing a legal claim more difficult for an accident victim, especially if the negligent party is purposely lying about the stages of the accident. Hopefully, a third party also witnessed the accident and complied with an official investigation.

Proving malicious lying can be difficult, but it can be done. Individuals who have received head injuries can always claim they did not recall exactly what happened. This is essentially a caveat, so the officer’s final report may have more impact on accident adjudication.

Direct and intended misrepresentation of the facts is criminally determined as fraud, and this occurs much more often than many people realize.However, many prosecutors do not pursue criminal charges without the ability to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt so many false claims get factored into the official report.

Car Accident Fraud

Vehicle accident fraud that occurs in minor cases rarely gets addressed. In most cases, even when it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, it will only result in a misdemeanor conviction.

The accident is actually determined by a standard of preponderance of the evidence, which is effectively a 51-49% weighing of the evidence. Some evidence, such as violating the law of vehicular control, is a “heavy” fact in preponderance and is normally the controlling doctrine.

Contributory negligence is also applied to many accidents, based on the individual state. Some states, such as Florida, use no-fault insurance models and personal injury claims are initially paid by the victim’s own insurance provider. This can help reduce fraudulent injury claims to some degree.

However, major insurance fraud resulting from false statements to the police or court can result in felony charges that carry extensive jail terms of up to 5 five years. Additionally, fines and restitution can also be assigned by the court.

Pursuing a Lying Respondent

As stated, one of the biggest obstacles is the differing standards in criminal and civil court. However, a material fact from the civil adjudication of the accident can be transferred to the prosecutor and presented to a grand jury in felony situations.

Felony status is determined by the amount of money that is being fraudulently claimed and obtained. Misdemeanor cases are often dismissed in any settlement. Purposely making a fraudulent statement to a police officer during the investigation can be chargeable if the officer uncovers the misinformation during the final accident report process.

So, purposely lying can have a dramatic impact on how the case is finally settled, and criminal charges can begin well before finalization of the accident if the officer files charges. It is always important to remember that the officer is an officer of the court as well as the police department. Lying to the police is akin to lying to a judge or prosecutor, which they do not appreciate.

Honesty is always the best policy in reducing culpability, especially involving any legal matter such as automobile accident, because lying to the court is clearly prosecutable.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and blogger. She contributes this article to shed light on the dangers of providing misinformation regarding an auto accident. Whether an individual is involved in an accident or charged with providing misinformation,Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, an auto accident attorney Orlando firm is comprised of professionals dedicated to defending their legal rights.

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