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Lying About Prior Accidents and Injuries

By: Heath C. Murphy +Personal Injury

It has never been more difficult to mislead others about your life. The internet has made it amazingly easy to locate and verify information about everyone. Famous people have been caught lying on resumes and fired. News anchors have been publicly shamed and suspended for lying about events in their lives. Every day Joes have been caught lying in court and lost their personal injury case.

Lying About Past Injuries: Bosque v. Rivera

Joshua Bosque was involved in a 2010 car accident in Florida. He claimed to be suffering from injuries to his neck, upper back and lower back. He promptly sought medical care and underwent a fairly conservative treatment plan for his injuries. This treatment plan provided no relief for the injuries related to the lower back pain. Almost a year after the accident Bosque underwent laser surgery on his lower back.

Bosque sued Eric Rivera who he claimed caused the car accident which resulted in his injuries. As a part of all lawsuits, the parties are entitled to send out interrogatories to the other party, which are just questions that must be answered, under oath. Rivera sent Bosque the following interrogatory:

List any automobile accidents, slip and falls, worker’s compensation claims, etc. for which you have reported an injury in the past ten years with specific dates of injury, and describe in detail the type, extent of the injury, and any medical treatment which you have received for the injury, and indicate the names and addresses of the treating physicians and whether they assigned you a disability rating. If so, state what this disability rating was and to what part [sic] of your body it applied.

Bosque answered, “None.”

Rivera also requested all medical records relating to the car accident for which he currently sought damages. A medical note in those records read, “History reveals one prior accident but no injuries were claimed.”

Ultimately, Bosque was deposed which means that he was asked questions by Rivera’s lawyer designed to “lock” Bosque into his story and to determine whether his story had any weaknesses. During that deposition, Bosque told Rivera’s lawyer that he had attended Herzing University. After the deposition, Rivera requested Bosque’s student records from Herzing.

As part of that disclosure, Rivera’s attorneys were able to find a medical note that said, “MVA 2yr. ago 0 pain today. LBP under chiropractic eval.” In commonly used shorthand, MVA represents “motor vehicle accident” and LBP represents “lower back pain.” Rivera’s lawyers assumed this note indicated that Bosque had been involved in a car accident two years ago and as a result was treated with a chiropractor for lower back pain.

The defendant’s attorneys hired a private investigator to research whether Bosque had been involved in a prior accident and whether he suffered any injuries. The investigator found that Bosque had been involved in a rollover crash when he was 16 and had refused medical care, but the records indicated that he did have a small laceration on his arm. Armed with this information, Rivera’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss because Bosque had lied by denying the accident and injury. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case, effectively barring Bosque from receiving compensation for his injuries.

Bosque appealed and stated that the interrogatory was not clear and there had been no evidence that Bosque had ever been treated by a chiropractor. The appellate court agreed and allowed the case to continue. However, this case demonstrates just how close of a call it can be in court and if Bosque is later found to have undergone chiropractic treatment for lower back pain, he may find his case dismissed permanently.

Always be Completely Candid with Your Attorney

Always be honest with your car accident lawyer. Let him/her decide how the information should be disseminated. In the case above, Bosque may have followed this advice and the attorney may have decided the interrogatory did not require disclosure of the accident. If no injuries were reported as a result of the rollover accident, I agree that disclosure was not required. However, if Bosque reported even the small laceration on the arm, then I would definitely believe disclosure was required. Quite frankly, I usually err on the side of caution when it comes to these issues because word parsing does not play well in front of a jury if opposing counsel asks your client why he did not disclose the prior car accident.

Always be Completely Candid When Testifying

Remember, when testifying in a deposition or in front of a judge and/or jury, always be completely truthful. At trial, you will have 6 people judging your credibility and at least one lawyer attempting to destroy it. If a lawyer can show the jury that you were less than candid about any aspect of your case, it will be very difficult for you to convince them that you were being truthful about other aspects.

I know that some people get nervous and fail to disclose facts that they believe will be damaging to their case. In many instances, they believe that they will not be able to recover from new injuries if they have been injured in prior car accidents. This is simply not true. However, withholding crucial information is seldom a wise course of action. Remember, at trial, you will be fighting an insurance company with vast resources and access to all reported car accidents. Before trial, the insurance company will also be granted the right to request and inspect the plaintiff’s medical records. It becomes a very dangerous and unethical game of cat and mouse to attempt to hide relevant information from medical professionals which can have devastating effects on your health and your car accident case.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney at Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our law firm we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you. We understand traumatic brain injuries and the issues that they can cause in your daily life and our law firm will always work to make sure you are compensated fairly.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of a car, motorcycle, or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours.

We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio