Some parties try to get away with lying or concealing information relevant to a legal claim. However, the consequences of failing to provide honest and complete testimony can be dire. In a recent case before a Florida appeals court, the court dismissed a personal injury claim after the plaintiff concealed a history of low back injury.
In that case, the plaintiff was riding in a car owned by his girlfriend when they were hit by a truck that fled the scene. The plaintiff alleged that the girlfriend was negligent and that he suffered permanent injuries to his neck and lower back as a result.
The parties engaged in discovery and the plaintiff admitted that he injured his lower back about 30 years prior, but testified that it had healed and he had not had any problems since that time. However, a review of the plaintiff’s medical records later showed that he hurt his lower back several months before the incident when he slipped on a stepladder. His records also revealed that he reported having a “chronic” history of similar episodes as well as a herniated disc. Additionally, when he went to the emergency room after the most recent accident, he reported that his back pain started “a long time ago.”
The court determined that the plaintiff committed fraud by falsely testifying about his history of lower back injury, which was central to the case. The court found the plaintiff’s attempt to conceal information central to his claim could only be considered an “unconscionable scheme” to affect the outcome of his claim.
In addition, although the plaintiff contended that he would not have disclosed his first lower back injury it he had intended to deceive the court, the court explained that being truthful in part did not constitute a truthful disclosure of facts. Because of this, the appeals court upheld the trial court’s decision to dismiss the case with prejudice. It found that it was reasonable given the plaintiff’s false testimony and the courts’ need to maintain the integrity of the judicial system.
Fraud in Personal Injury Claims
In Florida, a trial court has the authority to dismiss claims based on fraud. To establish fraud on the court, a court has explained that there must be clear and convincing evidence that a party “has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier of fact or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party’s claim or defense.” Thus, it is very important that Florida injury victims and their attorneys remain within the ethical bounds of appropriate conduct when advocating for their cause.
Contact a West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident, the personal injury attorneys at Frankl & Kominsky will aggressively pursue your right to compensation. Our lawyers offer experienced and dedicated representation in personal injury cases in and around West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida. We can negotiate with insurers for a fair settlement on your behalf, but are also prepared to carry your claim all the way to trial. Our attorneys respect all ethical boundaries, while always zealously advocating on our clients’ behalves. Call us today at (561) 708-5461 or complete our online form to set up a free initial consultation.
See Additional Blog Posts:
The Importance of Establishing a Defendant’s Knowledge of the Hazard in Florida Premises Liability Lawsuits, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, June 13, 2018.
Florida Court Discusses When a Case Is Considered One of Medical Malpractice, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, May 23, 2018.