Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the potential repercussions for committing fraud on the court. The case is instructive to Indiana car accident plaintiffs in showing the importance of selecting a reputable and honest attorney, as well as the importance of being truthful in all pleadings and testimony before the court.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff hired a car company to take her to the dock where she was planning on boarding a ship for a cruise. Once the plaintiff arrived, she was unloading her luggage from the rear of the vehicle when it suddenly began to reverse. The vehicle pinned the plaintiff underneath the rear axle and caused serious injuries. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for 10 days and suffered a broken leg.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the car company, arguing that the driver’s negligence resulted in her being run over and sustaining a broken leg. During pre-trial discovery, the plaintiff completed written interrogatories indicating that she had a permanent limp, that she uses a cane to walk, and that she cannot carry large objects due to her injuries.
Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the defendant car company had been surveilling her. The video showed the plaintiff unloading boxes from her car and carrying them into her townhouse without assistance. In the video, the plaintiff is not limping, nor is she using a cane to walk.
The car company filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case, arguing that she lied under oath and committed fraud on the court. The plaintiff filed a response, attempting to explain how the video was consistent with her statements, but the trial court did not find the plaintiff’s testimony convincing and dismissed her case. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the dismissal of her case was too harsh a sanction, given that there was a question whether she suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The court explained that the plaintiff showed a clear intention to deceive the court, and while the dismissal of an otherwise meritorious case may seem harsh, the court has an interest in publicly sanctioning those who commit fraud on the court to deter future instances of this type of conduct.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is important to keep in mind that while nuanced and creative arguments should be made, parties must remain honest throughout the proceeding. The dedicated Indiana law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse has a team of zealous advocates who fight for their clients’ rights to recover compensation for their injuries within the ethical bounds of the profession. We maintain our integrity to the court as well as to our clients. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated Indiana personal injury attorney today.
Potential Difficulties of Dealing with Insurance Companies after an Indiana Car Accident, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, December 11, 2017
Court Finds Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff Presented Sufficient Evidence of Negligence Based on Expert Witness Testimony, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2017