Some people jazz up their stories, especially if they’re trying to make a human connection, make people laugh, or feel embarrassed to admit to the brazen truth in all its naked glory. ‘Don’t let the facts get in the way of the truth,’ as the saying goes.
A personal injury trial isn’t a stand-up comedy contest or a storytelling competition, yet it is an environment that lends itself to exaggerating. It’s reasonable for injured or victimized workers to wonder if exaggerating their claims will help their truth be taken seriously. Is it okay to change or enlarge little facts for the sake of a bigger emotional truth?
This question is especially salient for those of us who have felt that the system has passed us by. Racial and gender inequalities, generational poverty, and other forms of systemic injustice leave many Americans feeling disenfranchised and unheard. People who have suffered for telling the plain truth in the past may ask themselves if exaggerating their case might be the best way to be taken seriously in the future.
Although it’s tempting to consider exaggerating or embellishing your personal injury claim, it’s a poor strategy that will backfire in the end. The defense will be scouring your records with a fine-tooth comb, looking for inconsistencies. Your public life, including social media, will be put under surveillance to see if your private activity levels match your court records.
If anything suspicious is found, your entire case may be discarded, and you may be required to pay the legal fees of your defense. Depending on the severity of the deception, you may face reverse charges and end up in jail. A personal injury case is not the time for white lies, fudging the details, false naivety, embellishments, or acting disingenuously.
Set yourself up for success. You deserve your day in court, and you deserve to be heard. Here are a few tips for getting your injuries taken seriously – and getting top compensation – without risking everything by exaggerating your claims.
● Don’t dodge responsibilities you can reasonably perform. If your doctor says that you can work in some capacity after your injury, talk to your employer to see if there is something that you can do within the recommended parameters. You should not go to work against your doctor’s orders. However, if your doctor thinks you can manage work, then try your best to get there. Malingering is the legal term for someone who doesn’t work when they are physically able. It’s a common strategy for defense teams to bring up the suspicion of malingering in a personal injury trial – don’t give them any ammunition.
● Don’t go to multiple doctors trying to get one of them to write you off work to make your case look more serious. Going to multiple doctors will show up on your record, and the defense will use this to make you look like a malingerer. Getting a second opinion is reasonable. A third opinion is a stretch but may be justified in exceptional circumstances. Anything beyond that could look suspicious at your personal injury trial.
● Don’t delay medical treatment. In the legal world, delaying medical treatment won’t make you appear tough and self-reliant. Delaying treatment may appear as if you are fishing for injuries in retrospect or looking for a way out of work. As a side note, this could also hurt your health. Doctors may pick up on underlying medical problems related to your injury accident that need immediate intervention. If you ignore these, you could jeopardize your health.
● Don’t ignore medical advice. If your doctor says to use a crutch, then use a crutch. If your doctor says to avoid lifting anything over 5 lbs, then don’t do it. Ignoring medical advice leads to logical questions about your intentions and the honesty of your claims.
● Do expect surveillance. Don’t do things that you claim you can’t do because of your injury. Pictures may be taken of you in public places or even on your front lawn. Routine surveillance shouldn’t be a problem if you are truly injured as you say you are. The defense lawyers are being paid to carefully review your records and activities to see if they match your claims. They are doing their job.
Above all, don’t help the opposition by doing things that disprove your injury claims and posting them on social media. If you post pictures of yourself skiing when you say that your leg has been injured, you’re discrediting your case and handing evidence to the opposition.
● Finally, and perhaps most importantly, do hire yourself a competent and experienced lawyer. A lawyer knows how to underline your experience, highlight your suffering,and categorize and clarify your injuries without telling white lies or exaggerating. That’s her or his job.
A competent lawyer would never encourage you to stretch the truth or make your injuries seem worse than they are. On the other hand, a competent lawyer knows your legal rights and has spent years studying the legal protocols required to get you the compensation you deserve.
Your personal injury lawyer will know how to make your case as strong as possible, rigorously documenting your monetary losses as well as pain and suffering, without giving the defense any foothold for raising suspicions about malingering. Your lawyer’s job is to guarantee that your personal injury claim is treated with the utmost respect.
If you’ve been injured in the Las Vegas area, exaggerating your case, either to your accident attorney or in court, won’t help your case. Stick to the bare facts for a better outcome in a personal injury case.