Plaintiffs Should Not Exaggerate Injuries

October 17, 2018

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another, then you may have an actionable claim for damages under Pennsylvania law.  It’s important that you do not exaggerate or misrepresent the nature or extent of your injuries, however — this is commonly known as malingering.

Consequences of Misrepresenting Injuries

Exaggerating or otherwise misrepresenting your injuries could damage your credibility as a personal injury plaintiff, thus making it difficult to obtain compensation.  Even if your claim is legitimate, the jury may not feel comfortable accepting your version of events.

Depending on the severity of the misrepresentation, and whether it can be proved, you could be exposed to criminal liability pursuant to Pennsylvania perjury laws.  Further — though quite uncommon — the defendant may attempt to sue you on the basis of malicious prosecution, if they can show that you had some hidden, underlying reason for exaggerating your injuries.

How Defendants Discover Inconsistencies

Some plaintiffs believe that they can effectively “game” the system and exaggerate or otherwise misrepresent their injuries, but in truth, there are a number of mechanisms that allow the defendant to discover inconsistencies in the injury claim.  These mechanisms include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Evaluation of medical records that are inconsistent with the assertions being made by the injured plaintiff
  • Court-ordered medical examination of the plaintiff
  • Surveillance of the plaintiff (i.e., video surveillance, photos, social media posts, etc.)
  • And more

For example, if you injure your back in a car accident, you may experience some stiffness, but perhaps the functional impairments are not sufficient to render you incapable of working or even from socializing or engaging in recreational activities.  You decide to exaggerate the severity of the injury (and impairment) in order to secure higher damages, however.  The defendant observes your social media feed and finds that you regularly play in recreational sports leagues on weekends, thus proving inconsistent with your assertions.  This will seriously undermine your claim for damages.

Contact an Experienced Allentown Injury Attorney for Comprehensive Legal Assistance

As you move forward with litigation, it’s critical that you accurately portray your injuries and that you avoid misrepresenting any aspect of your losses — whether the injury itself, or the consequences thereof (i.e., wage loss, pain and suffering, etc.).  Failure to do so could seriously undermine your injury claims and prevent you from making a full and adequate recovery.

Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our attorneys have extensive experience advocating on behalf of those who have been injured due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party.  We represent clients in a variety of personal injury disputes, from car accident lawsuits to slip-and-fall accidents, and more.

If you’d like to have your claims evaluated, we encourage you to call 215-348-2088 or submit a case evaluation form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Allentown injury attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC.