Dealing with a false or exaggerated car accident claim against you is no fun. Nonetheless, there are definitely ways to fight back. If there actually was an accident and if it was completely or mostly your accuser’s fault, you might even be able to demand money from your accuser (or, more likely, their insurance company). In any case, a false car accident claim is serious business that could land your accuser in jail or prison.
Preventative Measures: What You Can Do in Advance
In anticipation of a false claim, take the following advance measures.
Remain at the Scene of Any Accident, Take Photos, and Cooperate With the Police
Of course, California law requires you to remain at the scene of the accident if there are injuries or significant property damage. Comply with this law, call the police, and take photos while you wait for the police. Photograph the scene of the accident, any property damage, any injuries, and anything else that seems significant – such as the weather or roadway conditions.
When the police arrive, cooperate with them while they create a police report. Get a copy of the police report later.
Obtain the Names and Contact Details of Accident Parties and Witnesses
Try to get the other driver’s contact and insurance details; supply the same to the other driver. Be sure to get the contact details of any witnesses if you can.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Don’t delay medical treatment, even if you don’t think you were seriously injured. Assume you are injured if you suffer any bodily impact. Some injuries take a while to generate symptoms. Medical treatment is the best way to document your injuries since your doctors have no reason to lie or exaggerate. You will have the advantage if your injuries are documented and your accuser’s injuries aren’t.
Seek the Testimony of an Accident Reconstruction Specialist
The testimony of an accident reconstruction specialist can be based on far more than speculation. If either party files a lawsuit, for example, you can perhaps obtain information from the event data recorder in the car of the driver who accused you. The event data recorder records speed, braking times, and other objective information. Your car might also have an event data recorder.
California and Comparative Fault
If both drivers share fault for the accident, it could be that the accusing driver is not attempting fraud. The whole dispute might simply revolve around differing perceptions of who should bear the most liability for the accident.
California is a “pure comparative negligence” state. Under that system, a court will assign each party a percentage of fault (32% your fault, 68% the other driver’s fault, for example). With these numbers, you would pay 32% of your own damages, while the accusing driver would pay 68% of their own damages. The entire case could revolve around both of your lawyers trying to “nickel and dime” these numbers in a manner that is more favorable to their respective clients.
Fraud: Two Different Kinds
“Fraud” is a broad legal term that refers to many different ways to deceive something of value out of someone else. You can divide fraud into “soft fraud” and “hard fraud.” Either way, a determined investigation tends to pull the truth out of fraudulent claims.
In soft fraud, the accusing party exaggerates their injuries, or they try to blame you for an injury that occurred long before the accident you were involved in. This is the most common type of fraud.
Hard fraud is more serious. In one form of hard fraud, the accuser makes up an injury that never occurred. In another form of hard fraud, the accuser stages an accident. The accuser might, for example, pull ahead of you in traffic, wait for you to become distracted, slam on the brakes, and then start shouting, “Whiplash! Whiplash!” This strategy exploits the fact that in rear-end accidents, people tend to blame the driver of the trailing car.
It’s Time To Lace Up Your Gloves and Hire a Car Accident Attorney
If you have been victimized by a false car accident claim, it’s almost certainly in your best interest to hire a lawyer. Ideally, you’ll hire one with experience representing accused clients so that you can put your best foot forward.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.