After a car accident in Georgia, one of your first calls should be to your insurance company. In fact, virtually all insurance policies include a clause that requires you to report any accident you’re involved in, even if you’re not at fault. But when you call your insurer, it may be tempting to lie to them about what happened, especially if you think he’s at least partially to blame for the accident.
The insurance adjuster you speak with will likely ask you a series of questions, some of which are designed to trip you up and get you to admit that you caused the accident, giving them reason to deny any claim. But what if you lie to the insurance company about a car accident?
No matter how petty the lie, being dishonest with your auto insurance provider is never a good idea. in fact, it falls under insurance fraud.
At best, you’ll have to remember your lie the entire time you’re dealing with your insurer. They will most likely record calls and other interactions with you to uncover any discrepancies in your claim. At worst, you could face criminal penalties that could result in fines and even jail time.
Of course, even if you tell the truth, your insurer may try to twist your words so as not to pay the compensation you deserve. That’s why it’s so important to talk to an experienced Georgia car accident attorney about all of his legal options after an accident, especially if she sustained serious injuries and/or property damage.
how can the insurance company react if you lie
your claim will be denied
If the insurance company finds out that you lied about the car accident, your claim will almost certainly be denied. It doesn’t matter if you just embellished certain details, like claiming vehicle damage that didn’t occur in the accident, or if you’re lying outright about your role in the collision. the insurance company will most likely deny the claim in its entirety.
For example, a t-bone accident often results in broken bones. you may suffer a broken arm, which your insurance may cover. But if you lie about other injuries, like whiplash or back pain, the insurance company may not cover any injuries or other damages, including your legitimately broken arm.
your policy may be cancelled
If you lie to your insurance company about the cause, injuries, and other details of your car accident, you risk losing your policy entirely. Insurance companies don’t want to work with people who lie and try to take their money.
Alternatively, they may move you into a high-risk insurance category, which can make it harder for you to get coverage. this categorization is shared throughout the insurance industry, so switching providers will most likely not solve your problems.
your premiums may increase
If your policy is not cancelled, your premiums will almost certainly increase. As we mentioned before, your insurer may label you “high risk,” and high-risk drivers may be forced to pay up to 70 percent more for the same coverage.
Unfortunately, your premiums can also go up after an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. however, the rate of increase is usually much lower. But because Georgia follows a contributory negligence doctrine, your rates may increase more than usual if you are found partially at fault for the accident.
legal consequences of lying to the insurance company
under georgia law o.c.g.a. § 33-1-9, lying to your insurance company about the details of your accident can lead to felony charges. The law states that insurance fraud occurs when any person knowingly or willfully:
makes or assists in the making of any false or fraudulent statement or representation of any material fact or thing:
- in any written statement or certificate;
- in filing a claim;
- in preparing an application for an insurance policy;
- upon receipt of said application for an insurance policy; or
- on receipt of money for said application for an insurance policy
- for the purpose of procuring or attempting to procure the payment of any false or fraudulent claim or other benefit from an insurer. …
a…person convicted of a violation of this code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years, or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 , or both.
In short, making a false or exaggerated claim to your insurance company is a felony. The penalties for insurance fraud in Georgia can be severe. You can face a prison term of 2 to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. also, if the insurance company already paid you, you will have to pay that money back.
I already lied to the insurance company. what now?
As you can imagine, it’s honestly the best policy when it comes to talking to the insurance company. however, it is important to note that innocent mistakes are not the same as lying to your insurer. If this happens, insurance companies will usually understand and allow you to make changes to your claim. However, this is not always the case. that’s why we recommend speaking with an attorney before speaking with your insurance company.
Intentionally lying to the insurance company, on the other hand, is a different matter. if they discover the deception, it is very likely that they will send the file to the police for further action. At this point, it would be advisable to consult a criminal defense attorney about his legal options.
Although the law establishes severe penalties for insurance fraud, many of these cases do not result in legal proceedings. however, that doesn’t mean you can get away with lying to your insurance company. even if no criminal charges are filed against you, your insurer still has the right to cancel your coverage, deny your claim, label you a high-risk driver, and take other non-legal (i.e., not under the law, not as well as illegal) action against you.
contact a duluth car accident attorney today
If you’re not sure what to tell the insurance company, you’re not alone. calling and reporting an accident to the party that will only compensate you in the right circumstances can be stressful. As such, we recommend that you consult an experienced car accident attorney before speaking with your insurance company to make sure you don’t say the wrong thing.
In addition, you often have a better chance of getting the full compensation you deserve if you work with an Atlanta car accident attorney. This is because insurance companies will not hesitate to pressure victims into accepting a low settlement, using language such as “this is our best offer – take it or leave it.” Personal injury attorneys know these tactics and will not back down until they get the settlement or verdict you are owed.
If you have been injured in an accident due to the actions or negligence of another person, we are here to help. Scholle Law attorneys have the skills and experience to take over the insurance company on your behalf. Your initial consultation is always free, and there is no fee until we win. Call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today to speak with a Duluth car accident attorney.