What If the Other Party Lies About a Car Accident?
While automobile accidents have decreased since the 1970s, such accidents continue to cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage every year in the U.S. Over 2.3 million people are injured in car accidents, and another 37,000 people die in car crashes every year, making car accidents a leading cause of death. In short, car accidents are serious business, and, in all too many cases, are caused by the negligent or reckless driving of one party.
In California and other “fault” jurisdictions (as opposed to “no-fault” states where injured accident victims look to their own insurance policies), which means that a car accident victim can force a negligent driver to pay for all damages – including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering – through a lawsuit. Because of this, many negligent parties will lie about the car accident in an attempt to avoid liability.
Don’t Wait to Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Even if the other party is lying, a judge and/or jury looking at your case will look beyond what that party is saying to look at the physical, medical, and other eyewitness evidence presented in your case. Furthermore, the other party may change his or her tune once they take an oath in a deposition.
To that end, it is always a good idea to contact an attorney as quickly as possible after a car accident in which you sustained injuries, but this is especially the case when another party is lying about the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will know what type of evidence is necessary to collect in order to prove your lawsuit, and, the sooner the attorney is contacted, the easier it will be for the attorney to collect the necessary compelling evidence to make your case.
This includes talking to eyewitnesses to collect their accounts of what actually happened, and, the longer you wait to work with an attorney, the less likely it may be that those eyewitnesses can be found, that they will be willing to help, and that their memories of the accident will be accurate.
In addition, your lawyer may want to inspect the accident scene itself as well as the vehicles and other physical evidence. If there is a delay in reaching out to an attorney, it may be difficult for the attorney to access that evidence (e.g. the scene may have been completely scrubbed), and the other side may argue that the evidence is no longer compelling.
You Can Recover Even If You Played a Part in Causing the Accident
Oftentimes, parties who are lying about car accidents will try to pin the blame for causing the accident on the victim. In many cases, it is true that both parties played some role in causing the accident. For example, one car may not have used a turn signal to change into another lane, and a second car driving 120 MPH comes up behind them resulting in a crash.
The driver of the first car in that situation would still have a valid claim for injuries against the second driver. Under the legal concept of contributory negligence, a party can recover for their injuries minus the proportionate amount of the total damages attributed to their own negligence. In that situation, if the first driver sustained $100,000 in damages, and a jury found he was 10% at fault for failing to signal, then the recovery would be for $90,000.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in the Inland Empire
At McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP our personal injury team – led by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire in the millions of dollars. Our attorneys understand that the fear, anxiety, and pain that you and your family are going through following a personal injury, and we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help our clients get the help they need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.