Telling Your Car Accident Lawyer the Truth Is Necessary to Obtain the Compensation You Deserve
The little white lie. We’ve all told them at one point or another. Stretching the truth or exaggerating typically isn’t the end of the world. However, when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, lying can severely damage your entire case and put any settlement you hope to receive in jeopardy.
While our car accident lawyers at Heuser & Heuser cannot stress the importance of telling the truth enough, we understand how difficult it can be to remain perfectly accurate when recounting your story over and over throughout the duration of your case.
That’s why communicating every detail of your situation to an experienced attorney following your accident is vital to the success of your case. Honest attorney-client communication will lay the foundation for a strong case that avoids inconsistencies and holds up in settlement negotiations or the courtroom.
Evidence, the Legal Process, and the Importance of Telling the Truth
If you decide to take legal action after being injured in an automobile accident that wasn’t your fault, there are many legal hoops, so to speak, that you’ll be expected to jump through such as collecting evidence, depositions, and settlement negotiations.
Most personal injury cases are able to reach a settlement and never need to be tried in court. However, if your case is particularly complex and difficult to settle, you may need to file a lawsuit to have your case heard in court. No matter what phase of the legal process you’re facing, telling the truth is essential throughout the duration of your case.
In car accident cases, solid evidence is necessary in order to determine who was at fault and if the person is entitled to any compensation. This can include:
- Medical bills, records, and any pre-existing conditions
- Expert witness testimony
- Your detailed account of the incident
- Employment records
Out of all the evidence supplied, your personal testimony of the accident including your injuries, any medical treatment, the recovery process, and the impact it has had on your life will have great weight. You will likely be expected to describe what happened before, during, and after the accident many times before your case is resolved. It is critical that your account of the accident be consistent and truthful.
Establishing Credibility Is Harder Than it Seems
Your ability to obtain fair compensation rests on your testimony and injury case as a whole being credible. If the facts of your case are clearly and accurately presented, you will have a stronger chance of winning the compensation you deserve.
With that said, establishing credibility is easier said than done. Between depositions, gathering evidence, and anticipating what the defendant will argue, the legal process can be long and intimidating. In fact, your case may last months or even years after the accident occurred. For this reason, the facts of your case can become murky as your memory of the specific details begins to fade. Through the course of the lengthy legal process, altering or skipping over minor details in order to paint a clearer picture of the accident may seem like an easy option. However, guessing at forgotten details or changing your story in any way is likely to backfire and hurt your credibility.
Additionally, the defendant’s attorney will take any chance they can get to undermine your credibility and paint you as a liar. Defense attorneys’ methods can be difficult to combat and even hard to detect at times. They can and will question every part of your testimony with extreme scrutiny in attempts to poke holes in your story. If they locate any inconsistencies around even the most trivial detail, it can damage your credibility and lead the judge or jury to not trust your word.
Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus
This Latin phrase translating to “False in one thing, false in all” is a common legal principle used to call a person’s credibility into question. An article published in the Yale Law Journal explains that the doctrine was used in the early nineteenth century to instruct juries that they may consider an individual who previously testified falsely to be unreliable. In other words, jurors can disbelieve an individual’s entire testimony if they are caught lying on any matter throughout the case.
While this is not a formal rule in American courts, jurors are permitted to apply it to their decision-making process.
If at any point during the investigation or legal process you contradict yourself or are caught lying, it can be used against you to prove your dishonesty. What you consider to be a “harmless exaggeration” can cast doubt on your entire case and leave you with little to no compensation for your injuries and damages. Even a white lie with the most innocent intentions can still have a devastating blow to your credibility.
Your Case Depends on Attorney-Client Communication
Whether you’re in settlement negotiations or the courtroom, you are vulnerable to doing or saying things that could potentially damage your case. The only way you can defend your case and prepare for anything the defendant’s attorney might argue is through attorney-client communication. If there are any inconsistencies, misrepresentations, forgotten details, or problems of any sort surrounding your case, our car accident attorneys need to know ahead of time so we can anticipate and plan for anything the defense might use against you.
Don’t let problems arise when it’s too late for your lawyer to help you. Even if it seems like a minor detail, your attorney needs all the information in order to best represent your interests. Your case depends on honest communication.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call our law firm today at 719-520-9909 or fill out our contact form online to schedule a free consultation. Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers can review your case and discuss any legal options you may have.