At best, a car accident can ruin your day. It can cause you to miss work because you need to get your car repaired. It can even leave you without a vehicle for weeks on end. In more serious accidents, you could be in the hospital receiving continuous medical care and attention for your personal injury.
While dealing with all of this, you then learn that the at-fault driver lied to their insurance company and claimed the accident was not their fault. This can make an otherwise straightforward car accident claim extremely complex and frustrating. It can also make it more difficult for you to get the compensation you need to help cover your car repair costs, medical bills, and lost income.
Why At-Fault Drivers Lie
At-fault drivers lie for one reason: to save themselves money. They know that if they are at fault for an accident and their insurance company has to pay out your claim, their insurance premiums will go up and they will have a harder time switching carriers. In short, they do not want to bear the financial burden of the accident they caused.
But there are different lies at-fault drivers may tell. Some may tell their insurance company outright that you caused the accident. This is the worst-case scenario because it may require you to battle in court to show the other driver was at fault.
Another lie an at-fault driver may tell their insurance company is a lie of omission. They simply will not admit fault to the accident. This does not automatically mean that their insurance company will fight you, as the insurance company can still determine that their client was at fault for the accident and pay your claim. They do not need their client’s permission to determine fault. However, if your car damage is costly or your injuries are severe, the insurance company may stand by their client because they do not want to pay out an expensive claim.
In many cases, insurance companies will stand by their clients’ lies. It is cheaper for the insurance company to battle over who caused the accident than it is for them to pay out the full value of your claim.
What to Do When the At-Fault Driver Lies
As with many legal questions, the answer will depend on several factors. Here are two scenarios in which the at-fault driver lied about the accident.
Police accident report. If you call 911 after your accident, the police will come to the scene. While there, they will speak with witnesses, you, the other driver, and any passengers. They will compile this information into a police accident report. Although the police may not assign fault in the accident, their report will provide details about how the accident occurred.
Sometimes, the at-fault driver will lie to the police. The police may realize they are being lied to or may not. Either way, the police report may contain false information. If you know the information provided by the other driver is false, you can say so to the police, who should note your version of the accident in their report.
Other times, the police officer making the report makes a mistake. You may not realize a mistake has been made until after you have left the accident scene. But the most important thing you can do in this instance is to work to correct the report and point out the officer’s mistake as quickly as possible. Although insurance companies may not take the police accident report as gospel, they will use it to help determine fault in your accident.
Insurance accident report. It may take some time before you learn that the at-fault driver has lied to their insurance company about the accident. In fact, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may call your insurance company to dispute the claim. That may be how you learn that the other driver is claiming that you share responsibility for the accident or are even solely to blame.
Your insurance company will want to take your statement to try to better understand what happened and how the accident was caused. But be careful of what you say because, just like the other driver’s insurance company does not need their permission to determine fault, the same is true of your insurance company. If you make a seemingly innocent statement such as that you looked down for a second, your insurance company may determine that you share blame for the accident.
When deciding how much to fight, insurance companies look at costs. In some cases, it is less expensive for your insurance company to agree with the at-fault driver’s lies, pay out under your policy, and then increase your premiums.
How a Lawyer can Help
When someone else causes your car accident, it may seem like a straightforward claim. Unfortunately, when the at-fault driver lies to their insurance company, that can take a straightforward claim and make it extremely complex and contested.
Working with a lawyer can give you an advantage in several situations. Your lawyer may have access to car accident reconstruction experts. These experts can review all the evidence and work to make a determination on how your accident happened. They may be able to prove that you played no part in the accident.
The legal process to determine fault requires four key elements. Although this may seem obvious to you, proving these elements will require evidence and persuasion. Determining fault will require you to show that the other driver:
- Owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner
- Breached that duty by driving in an unsafe manner
- Caused an accident because of their unsafe driving
- Caused your injuries or car damage in the accident
Your lawyer will also be able to advocate on your behalf. They will review the police accident report, any photos of the accident, medical records, and any other relevant evidence. They do this with the goal of holding the at-fault driver liable for the accident and your damages.
Your lawyer can also make sure that your insurance company does not admit fault on your behalf. This can happen, even when you did not cause the accident. An experienced legal team will also be able to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to attempt to get you maximum compensation for your injuries. While you focus on your health and wellbeing, you have an aggressive legal advocate fighting to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you need.
Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Car repair costs
The last thing you need to deal with after a car accident is a legal claim. You need to focus on your injuries and getting back to your regular life. With the right legal guidance at your side, you can do just that.
Car accidents are frustrating enough, but when the at-fault driver lies to their insurance company and even suggests they were not the cause of the accident, it adds to your frustration. What you need now is an aggressive legal advocate who can help you prove the other driver was at-fault so you can collect the compensation you need to get better. The Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help you protect your rights. For a free consultation, call us at 732-308–0200 or complete our online form. We are located in Freehold, New Jersey, and help clients throughout Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn, New York, and New York City.