That Punishment May Come to A Few, the Fear of It Should Affect All
Jan. 12, 2018
The Quickest Way to Lose Your FL Personal Injury Case
If you are injured in a Florida accident there is no guarantee that you will receive money for your injuries. If you go to trial, juries can be unpredictable. The two guarantees that we have in life are death and taxes. Here is a third guarantee in life. If you lie or withhold important information in a personal injury matter – you will lose your case.
A woman was run over by a trailer and seriously injured. There was no dispute that she was seriously injured, she spent 10 days in the hospital and had at least one surgery on her leg. A lawsuit was filed. The first step in a case after all attorneys have entered is discovery. There are two primary forms of discovery. The first is written discovery where the parties exchange paper and information. The second is oral discovery, which includes depositions (a deposition is a statement under oath).
The Big Lie/error/mistake
Exaggerating the lasting effects of an injury can be considered a lie. As an example, if you say you cannot climb a ladder any longer because of your injuries but you really can climb a ladder that statement is not true – it’s a lie.
In written questions that woman answer she swore that she had a “permanent limp” and she used a cane if she walks more than a few steps.
The woman gave a deposition and in her deposition she testified that she used a cane to walk, had not tried to carry heavy and bulky items, and used a handrail to climb stairs without a cane.
Before taking the woman’s deposition, the defendant hired a private investigator to do video surveillance. That’s right! If you are seriously injured in an accident, odds are that you will be surveilled. Guess what? Florida courts are consistently ruling that defendants do not have to give up any video surveillance until after the injured person is deposed.
The Big Request
With this ammunition of an injured person claiming that she walked with a permanent limp and needing a cane to walk more than a few feet and video surveillance of the woman moving into a new house in North Carolina, which showed the opposite (walking without a cane, carrying bulky items and climbing stairs), the defendant asked the court to dismiss the woman’s case.
Dismissal of The Case
The court held a hearing where it heard testimony. The woman was unable to explain to the court why the video was different from her sworn answers. The court entered a finding that said this:
Plaintiff repeatedly lied under oath, both in her deposition and at the evidentiary hearing… regarding… her physical activities, abilities and limitations, and that deception was intended to interfere with the judicial system’s ability to impartially adjudicate her case.
After the case was dismissed the woman asked a higher court to look at the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court’s statements were just as strong:
Although the result in this case may seem rough justice, the courts must deal firmly and publicly with a litigant’s fraud on the very judicial system the litigant asks to render justice. Over 2,000 years ago, Roman law recognized the deterrent effect of harsh penalties in the phrase “Ut open ad paucos, meets ad omnes perveniat” – “That punishment may come to a few, the fear of it should affect all.”
The appellate court made it clear. If you file a lawsuit and you are caught lying or exaggerating – it will not stand for it and you will be kicked out on your butt.