As the victim of an accident, your credibility can strongly impact the outcome of your case and how much compensation you may be able to recover. Because your credibility matters, the insurance company is going to look for any reason to attack it.
Our South Bend car crash lawyers know the importance of protecting your claim from these attacks by the insurance company, and we are prepared to help. We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim with a licensed attorney. There are no fees while we work on your case, and you only pay us when we win.
Below, we discuss what can help fortify your credibility and the tactics the insurance company will use to try to discredit you.
What Makes an Injury Victim Credible?
A credible injury victim is consistent with his or her statements about the collision and injuries.
It is generally a good idea to speak to the police officer responding to the accident so you may provide your version of what occurred. The officer may ask you what you were doing prior to the crash, where you were headed to or coming from, and maybe some other questions that are relevant to his or her investigation of the crash. During this interview, you should stick to the facts to make it easier to remember what you say.
When you see a doctor for treatment of your injuries, it is also a good idea to be honest about the pain you are feeling and where. Although how you feel as your injuries progress may change, your medical records will contain a well-documented history of what treatments you received and how they worked.
Being honest and consistent about everything goes a long way in helping to establish your credibility with your case.
Do Credible Victims Recover More Compensation?
There are no guarantees about outcomes, however credible victims are more likely to have a stronger claim. Remember that you have the burden of proving another driver’s negligence resulted in your damages. If you are unable to accomplish this, then you are most likely not going to recover the compensation you need.
Even if you can prove the collision occurred because of another driver’s negligence, your credibility about the extent of your damages is still important. If you cannot get the insurance company or a jury to believe you were injured in the crash, then your compensation may be reduced or even denied. The insurance company is not going to pay out on a claim if there is no credible evidence their policyholder caused you harm.
What Can Hurt an Injury Victim’s Credibility?
There are a few ways an injury victim can cause his or her credibility to be called into question.
For one, being inconsistent about how the crash happened can deal a huge blow to your credibility. If you tell the police officer you were stopped at a red light when the crash occurred, but later tell the insurance company you were making a left turn, then you might hurt your own case.
Exaggerating the extent of your injuries is another way injury victims often hurt their own credibility. Especially when a medical diagnosis can easily disprove your claim. For example, if you say you have a broken bone, but an X-ray fails to support that claim. It is important to note that pain is subjective, so saying you are in pain, but not having what the insurance company would consider a serious injury is not an exaggeration of your damages.
Some other factors that may damage an injury victim’s credibility include:
- Criminal records
- Poor driving records
- History of fraud
- Excessive debts
- History of drug/alcohol abuse
- Multiple insurance claims within a short time period
Despite all these factors that might hurt your credibility, it is your attorney’s responsibility to build a strong case for compensation on your behalf. For this reason, you should be completely up front and honest with your attorney about the crash and your injuries. Thanks to attorney-client privilege, you can be honest while still protecting your claim.
Ways the Insurance Company Will Attack Your Credibility
The insurance company is going to look for any reason to deny or devalue your injury claim. One way they do this is by attacking the credibility of the accident victim.
When your statements are inconsistent, the insurance company will find ways to use this against you and try to disprove everything you say. For example, if you said you were heading home from the grocery store when the crash occurred, but an investigation later proves you were coming home from a bar or night club. This is an opportunity that the insurance company will use to discredit you by showing how you lied about where you had been to avoid being suspected of drunk driving.
If your statements about your injuries do not match what is in your medical records, the insurance company could say you are exaggerating your injuries to try and recover more compensation.
If an injury victim has prior tickets on his or her driving record, the insurance company may argue that you are at least partially at fault because you have a history of negligent driving.
Let Us Help. Call Today
Our attorneys are ready to handle every legal aspect of your claim. We can even communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so you do not have to worry about being tricked into making contradictory statements.
If we represent you, our attorneys are prepared to protect your credibility by disputing false attacks the insurance company makes against you.
Call (844) 678-1800 to schedule a free consultation.