Lying in Court Can Get Parties in Trouble
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be concerned that the Defendant that you are suing, may just lie. After all, who will ever know the difference? A Defendant that is seeking to avoid paying a lot of money may easily tell a lie, and you may be wondering what is stopping you from doing the same thing, if it makes your case seem “better.”
Penalties and Sanctions
The answer is that there are serious penalties (called sanctions) for parties that purposely lie during the course of a court proceeding.
Obviously, for procedures that are under oath, there is the threat of perjury when someone lies. But there is also another threat to a Defendant who purposely lies in court: The judge can penalize the Defendant monetarily, get rid of (strike) some of the Defendant’s defenses, or take other actions to penalize the Defendant.
If the victim is purposely lying, the Court can dismiss the entire case. In most cases, there is never any reason to lie; you are always best served telling your attorney the good and bad parts of your case, and letting the attorney manage it in court.
Of course not every lie is done with malice. Often, what sounds like a lie, is just a misstatement, or an innocent error. If the Defendant says that there were 5 employees working on the night of your accident, and it turns out there were 6, that may just be an innocent mistake.
Victims are Targets
More and more, Defendants are seeking to punish victims who make these kinds of errors. For example, assume that an accident victim says that he has never had a back injury before the accident, when really, he complained about back pain to a doctor 10 years ago. The victim likely just forgot that fact, especially if it was never diagnosed as anything and the pain was small and went away.
But the Defendant will try to get your case dismissed, for the error. The Defendant will say that it was more than just a simple error.
Intent to Deceive
To have a case dismissed, or a defense thrown out of court, or some other penalty imposed by a court, the Court must find more than just a simple error, misstatement or omission—the court must find that the lie was done with the purpose of setting in motion a fraud on the court. There must be a scheme done purposely with the intent of hurting the other side’s case, or of deceiving the court (that is, the judge or the jury in trial).
This is a high burden, and of course, a simple error or misstatement won’t qualify. But Defendants still make the argument, anytime the victim makes an innocent mistake. And victims can still use this law, to ensure that Defendants aren’t purposely and knowingly lying to the Court.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help with the good parts and not so good parts of your injury case–we can help you with even the difficult cases.