Car accidents are traumatic enough, but when the other driver lies about what happened, you may feel victimized a second time. Sadly, that feeling will continue throughout the next several weeks to months if the insurance companies believe the other driver’s account. You could end up shouldering the blame, be responsible for their vehicle and injury costs, issued police fines, lose insurance coverage, and not receive any damages for your own medical costs and car repairs.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The account of the car accident begins the moment it happens, and what you do in this situation is just as important as the at-fault driver. Every action is important. What you do immediately following the accident becomes record and will be valuable later if you need to demonstrate that the other driver is lying. When an accident happens, it is important to:
- Seek emergency services. Call 911 to request police and medical services if there are injuries. If you or someone in your vehicle are injured, stay in the car and try to remain still until your injuries can be assessed. Do not let the other driver talk you out of contacting emergency services, and do not assume that witnesses are calling it in for you.
- Stay where you are. Never leave the scene of a car accident, no matter how serious or insignificant the damage. Leaving the scene of an accident demonstrates an assumption of guilt on your part and is against the law in most states and could result in criminal charges. If the other driver tries to leave or does leave the scene, take the license number and car description for the police. Remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives in this situation as well.
- Remain calm. Emotions are heightened during an accident and can easily boil over into dangerous confrontations with the others involved. It is especially important to not lose your temper and say as little as possible, as the other driver, witnesses, and passersby could take video recordings of entire incident, and what you do and say could come back to hurt your case.
Keep in mind that if at-fault drivers intend to lie, they will. You will not be able to change their mind, and they are probably willing to fight with you about it to get their version on record. Do not fight with the driver but do maintain truth and consistency in telling your version of events to police officers and both insurance companies.
Why Is the Other Driver Lying?
Even in accidents that clearly show which driver is at-fault, that person may still try to escape blame. Drivers lie for many reasons, the most common being money. Car accidents can be costly to the driver responsible for the accident, depending on the extent of the property damage and personal injury the driver caused others. Consequences include traffic fines; repairs to all the vehicles involved; medical bills for everyone; and additional property damage if the collision went beyond the roadway and involved signs, landscaping, buildings, other cars, or even pedestrians. Additionally, there will be court costs and attorney’s fees, and the at-fault driver’s insurance rates will increase.
Another big reason drivers lie is if they were knowingly breaking the law and do not want to receive criminal charges, be arrested, or jailed. Some common reasons drivers lie include the following:
- Speeding. Excessive speed is one of the most common causes of car accidents but can also be difficult to prove as well, which is what the at-fault driver is hoping for. Thankfully, some areas do have speed cameras on roadways and at intersections that can determine how fast the vehicles are traveling, but they are not common everywhere.
- Distractions. Unfortunately, distracted driving is far too common, and cell phone use is usually the culprit. Texting or reading messages and driving is extremely dangerous and carries serious penalties in some jurisdictions. Other common distractions to drivers include eating, arguing with a child or passenger, and talking on the phone.
- Drowsy driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving and was the cause of 91,000 accidents in 2017, causing 51,000 injuries and nearly 1,000 deaths.
- Impaired driving. Drunk driving has serious consequences nationwide. If the at-fault driver is seriously impaired, that will be obvious at the scene. However, those who may have had only one or two drinks may not be as obviously impaired and lie in hopes of not being discovered and arrested.
Lying about fault in car accidents is a risky endeavor, as it is a crime to lie on a police report, which could bring jail time if proved. Additionally, insurance companies take lying seriously as well, and those who file false reports risk losing their coverage entirely.
How Can I Prove What Really Happened?
When it comes to car accidents, the truth about what happened is not always obvious by just observing the scene. This opens the door for those involved to attempt to falsify what happened to shift the blame.
When the at-fault driver lies about the incident, you could end up being liable and required to pay for damages and injuries instead. Also, insurance companies tend to put more stock in the other driver’s statements if it means they could avoid having to pay claims. However, you do have rights and measures to prove your version of events, such as the following:
- Gather evidence. If you are able, start gathering evidence at the scene. Photograph the placement of the vehicles, damage, the roadway conditions, traffic signs, skid marks, injuries, weather, and any other evidence related to the accident. Gather the names and contact information for witnesses and the other driver. Encourage witnesses to stay on the scene to speak to police if they have not yet arrived. In addition to eyewitness accounts, there will likely be witness cellphone photos and videos, police officer body and dash camera footage, and 911 audio recordings after the accident.
- Dispute the police report. You are entitled to a copy of the police report, and you are also entitled to dispute the information within it, if incorrect. The police report is strictly a write-up of what each driver and witnesses tell the police officer at the scene. However, this is not always possible if injuries are involved and you have been taken from the scene for medical care. Some drivers take advantage of this situation, as you are not around to dispute their version of events. Police reports do not have much weight in court, but insurance companies use them in making their liability decisions. If you know portions of the report are false and blame is asserted more on you, it is especially important that you challenge the report to include your side of the story. Provide your statement of events, medical records, documentation to disprove falsehoods, photos, and anything else that demonstrates the truth.
- Retain a lawyer and contest. Like challenging the police report, if the insurance company is placing the blame on you rather than the other driver, you need to contest their decisions and demand a review of your case. Your lawyer will file a complain against the other driver to begin the review process. Filing suit also signals the insurance companies that there is some question as to the validity of reports, and in some cases, may make them change their decision. Paying your claim is less expensive than fighting it in court.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Clients Set the Record Straight in Car Accidents
Dealing with injuries, medical bills, insurance, and filing claims after a car accident can be complicated and daunting, especially if the at-fault driver is lying. Do not go it alone. The Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will help you through the process of correcting the records and claims from your accident so that you receive the compensation and damages to which you are entitled. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients in Dover, Newark, and Middletown.