What Happens if the At-Fault Driver is Lying to the Insurance Company?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on December 29, 2021 in Car Accidents News
New Jersey is a no-fault state where you file a claim for your injuries through your own policy no matter who is responsible for the crash. However, it is still important to establish who caused the accident to avoid higher premiums in the future and to allow the possibility to pursue compensation if your damages surpass the amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) available.
If the at-fault driver lies to avoid liability for the crash, you may need to take several steps to protect your claim. One of the most important first steps is to discuss your accident claim with one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers in New Jersey.
Below, we discuss steps you should take if you suspect the at-fault driver will lie to his or her insurer.
COMMON THINGS AT-FAULT DRIVERS LIE ABOUT
The most obvious reason why an at-fault driver would lie about an accident is to try and avoid liability for any damages caused in the crash. The person may lie to the police at the scene to avoid getting ticketed, arrested or fined. In these cases, the at-fault driver may lie about:
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running a red light/stop sign
- Following too closely
- Texting and driving
- Distracted driving
Some at-fault drivers may even go as far as lying about mechanical failures, such as failed brakes, especially if he or she slammed into the back of your vehicle where fault may be obvious.
If you were hit by a driver who fled the scene of the crash, that person may also lie to his or her insurance company to try and get his or her repair costs covered by the insurance while avoiding liability for your damages.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM AN AT-FAULT DRIVER’S LIE
There are some steps you may be able to take to help establish your credibility over the at-fault driver’s.
PROVIDE A STATEMENT TO THE POLICE
If you believe the at-fault driver is lying to the police after the crash, stay calm and do not try to confront the person about his or her alleged lies. Simply speak to the police officer responding to the crash and provide your version of events.
SPEAK TO WITNESSES AT THE SCENE
In addition to providing an official statement to the police, you should also try and speak to as many witnesses at the scene of the crash as possible. These eyewitnesses may potentially help corroborate your version of events to the police and to the insurance company during your claim.
Be sure to get contact information from any witness you speak to in case you need to ask follow-up questions. If a lawsuit is filed, it may be useful to have the person’s information if you need him or her to testify on your behalf.
When it is safe for you to do so, and if you are able, you should try and gather evidence at the scene of the crash. This could include taking photos of the following:
- Road signs
- Road conditions
- Damage to property
- Visibility conditions
- Dangerous road debris
- Skid marks (or lack thereof)
It is also recommended that you get the insurance information of the other driver so you can file a claim with the insurance company yourself. Be sure to speak to one of our attorneys before you provide any official statements to the liable insurance company to help protect your rights as an injury victim.
When you provide a statement to the police and to the insurance companies (your PIP and the liability insurance) be consistent with your answers and the retelling of the accident. Inconsistency in your statements may damage your credibility, making it harder to recover the compensation you need.
When the insurance company is determining the validity of a claim and the opposing parties’ stories do not line up, they will likely be forced to conduct a more thorough investigation. If your story does not change from the one you first gave, but the other driver’s story does, you may be in a better position to recover the compensation you need.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF LYING DURING A CASE?
In New Jersey, insurance fraud is considered a third-degree felony. Lying to the insurance company or knowingly omitting information when filing a claim is considered insurance fraud. Therefore, the consequences for lying during an injury claim may have serious legal consequences for the person guilty of a lie.
Additionally, lying to the police may also have criminal consequences, especially when that false information is included in an official report.
Lastly, if a lawsuit is filed and the at-fault driver lies about something during the case while under oath, he or she may be held in contempt of court, which often carries heavy sanctions from the court.
The exact consequences may depend on the severity of the lie and are often determined on a case-by-case basis.
CALL A KNOWLEDGEABLE ATTORNEY
One of the most important moves to make when trying to protect your claim from dishonest at-fault drivers is to speak to an attorney. Our lawyers are prepared to help you build a strong case for compensation and prove the other driver is not being honest about what happened during the accident.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim and see what legal options may be available to you.
Call (800) 518-0508 to get started.