Honesty in Court Proceedings

Truth & Honesty In Trials & Litigation

Complete and direct honesty throughout the claim process is an absolute must if one is to ultimately succeed on the merits of a case. Often times attorneys and plaintiffs are painted as dishonest, money hungry characters that consider the truth in relative terms. This is done by insurance companies and defense firms who know that a jury’s perception of the plaintiff going into the case will shape their final verdict. However, this simply is not the case for an overwhelming majority of claims that are filed. A good attorney understands that the best way to increase the value of a case is to have a clean record throughout the case so that the credibility and honesty of his witnesses, and ultimately the plaintiff, cannot be impugned to the smallest degree.

Insurance companies and defense attorneys will routinely obtain a plaintiff’s current and past medical records during a claim or lawsuit. This permits them to determine whether the plaintiff is being truthful about any preexisting conditions or even the cause of their current injuries. Knowing this, providing a truthful and accurate account to doctors, law enforcement and other witnesses from the very beginning is imperative. Any inconsistencies in medical history or factual recitations can be magnified to a considerable degree. For example, if a case actually goes to jury trial, the jury is instructed as follows:

Credibility of the Witnesses
You will decide the facts from the evidence. Consider the evidence using your observations, common sense and experience. You must try to reconcile any conflicts in the evidence; but, if you cannot, you will accept the evidence you find more believable.

In determining the facts, you may have to decide what testimony you believe. You may believe all, part or none of any witnesses' testimony.

There are many factors which you may consider in deciding what testimony to believe, for example:
1. Whether the testimony is reasonable and consistent with other evidence you believe;
2. The witnesses' appearance, conduct, age, intelligence, memory and knowledge of the facts; and,
3. The witnesses' interest in the trial, their motive, candor, bias and prejudice.

Contradictory Statement, Non-party, Witness Not Under Oath
You have heard evidence claiming [name of witness] made statements before this trial while not under oath which were inconsistent with what the witness said in this trial.
Because the witness did not make the earlier statements under oath, you may use them only to help you decide if you believe the witness.

Decide if the earlier statements were made and whether they were inconsistent with testimony given at trial. You may disregard all or any part of the testimony if you find the statements were made and they were inconsistent with the testimony given at trial, but you are not required to do so.
Do not disregard the testimony if other evidence you believe supports it or if you believe it for any other reason.

Contradictory Statements, Non-Party, Witness Under Oath
You have heard evidence claiming [name of witness]made statements before this trial while under oath which were inconsistent with what [name of witness]said in this trial. If you find these statements were made and were inconsistent, then you may consider them as part of the evidence, just as if they had been made at this trial. You may also use these statements to help you decide if you believe [name of non-party witness].

You may disregard all or any part of the testimony if you find the statements were made and were inconsistent with the testimony given at trial, but you are not required to do so. Do not disregard the trial testimony if other evidence you believe supports it, or if you believe it for any other reason.

Statements By A Party Opponent
You have heard evidence claiming [insert name] made statements before this trial while not under oath. If you find such a statement was made, you may regard the statement as evidence in this case the same as if [party's name] had made it under oath during the trial. If you find such a statement was made and was inconsistent with [party's name] during the trial you may also use the statement as a basis for disregarding all or any part of [party's] testimony during the trial but you are not required to do so. You should not disregard [party's] testimony during the trial if other credible evidence supports it or if you believe it for any other reason.
 

Truths & Untruths

As you can see, a prior factual statement that turns out to be incorrect or otherwise untruthful can have serious negative implications on a person’s case. It has often been said that a lie told repeatedly will not remain consistent but the truth can be told over and over with amazing consistency. That being the case, when making a claim for injuries arising out of a car accident, it must be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth from the claim's inception. Attorneys can work with facts that may be adverse to the client’s position if they are aware of them up front, but surprises and untruths kill a case faster then the worst of facts. A witness swears to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth when taking the stand at trial, he/she should have that same mindset when giving initial statements to law enforcement, emergency personnel, doctors and their lawyers.
 
The accident & injury attorneys at Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm represent people who have been injured in accidents. If you or someone you love have been in an accident, please contact GRL Law's attorneys at 515.226.0500 (or toll-free at 1.877-475-5297). When you call, an attorney will speak with you about your case, and explain Iowa's laws pertaining to your situation. In some cases, it may be necessary to immediately preserve the evidence of the accident, invoke the help of a special investigator, or obtain statements. Time is of the essence. An attorney can take your call 24 hours a day.