Unfortunately, if you are a driver in Oregon (or anywhere else for that matter), involvement in one or more traffic accidents during your lifetime is nearly inevitable. Some accidents are relatively minor, and the resulting legal ramifications can be handled quickly. On the other hand, some accidents are quite consequential, resulting in extensive property damage, serious personal injury, and even death.
Most traffic accidents require some level of investigation. The results of the investigation can have both civil and criminal consequences for the people involved. An important part of the fact-finding process normally includes interviewing or taking statements from the drivers involved in the accident.
Naturally, things are easier to sort out when everyone is truthful. But sometimes, the party who caused an accident lies about circumstances surrounding the crash. In this article, we will discuss some things that you can do when another driver is untruthful about how a traffic accident occurred.
Why Are Some Drivers Dishonest?
Society works best when people are honest and take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, there will always be those who focus on their own self-interest. While there are numerous motives that could lead a person to lie, they often deal with insurance and finances. For example, some people are afraid of being held financially liable for an accident. Perhaps they fear they have inadequate insurance to protect them, or fear that their insurance company will cancel their coverage if they admit they caused the accident. They may also fear that their insurance premiums will increase.
Some people have additional financial motives for being dishonest. Perhaps they simply don’t want to pay their deductible and know that their loss will be fully covered if the other driver is held responsible. There are some drivers and passengers who hope to falsely accuse another driver of negligence in the pursuit of their own personal injury claim.
Once a person decides to be dishonest, he or she may provide inaccurate information to law enforcement officers and insurance adjusters who are investigating the accident. Not only is such behavior dishonest, under some circumstances it can constitute fraud and criminal behavior.
How to Fight Dishonesty
In the end, liability for an accident is determined by a careful factual investigation of the accident. While the statements of the driver are important, don’t lose faith in the system if you hear another driver describing the accident dishonestly. Remember that law enforcement officers and insurance adjusters alike know that some people lie about their accidents. Therefore, they are accustomed to reviewing all the evidence before making a decision.
The best way to fight untruthful reporting of an accident is to develop evidence that demonstrates what truly happened. Taking the following steps can help:
- Provide your own account of the accident to law enforcement. Remain calm and be truthful to enhance your own credibility. Also remember that Oregon has specific accident reporting requirements.
- Obtain eyewitness accounts. Investigators can be greatly influenced by independent eyewitness accounts because they “don’t have a dog in the fight.” If you are able, try to obtain contact information of witnesses at the scene of the accident.
- Use photographs and videos. Take photos at the crash scene. Review any dash cam footage you have. This type of evidence can be very persuasive.
- Obtain 911 recordings and police reports. Sometimes a person makes claims at or before trial that are contradicted by statements they made at the time of the accident.
- Analyze physical evidence such as skid marks and damage to vehicles. Accident reconstruction experts can sometimes take this type of evidence and prove how an accident really happened.
- Speak with an attorney. Experienced attorneys like those at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield know how to gather evidence that can be used to convince a jury of the truth or help to obtain a settlement.
Call with Questions
If you have been involved in a car accident or any other type of motor vehicle crash, you likely have questions about your rights. That is especially true if you have been injured by someone who is now being dishonest with the police and insurance companies. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can answer all of your questions and help you get the result you deserve – just give us a call.
We have experience investigating automobile accidents all over Oregon and know how to gather evidence and hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions, even when they are untruthful about the circumstances. We believe that by holding negligent drivers responsible for their actions, we can help to make all of Oregon’s roadways safer.