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Special Guest Post by Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Offenheim: His views on telling the truth in a car accident case

More often than you could possibly imagine, we here at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law are courted by other lawyers, professional bloggers, advertisers and spam services to post content, links etc. on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

We have never, and repeat NEVER caved. Only lawyers and other staff members of Goldfinger Law have ever posted on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. All of our content is original, and is 100% Goldfinger Law. Can’t you tell? We have a certain style and panache which people have come to love.

Today is a momentous day. We are honoured to have a very special guest blogger to add his two cents on the field of personal injury law. We have allowed this lawyer to have his say on our blog because we certainly respect this lawyer’s ability, legal wit, and passion for the law.

Stephen Offenheim is a Toronto lawyer who has been practising on in the field since lord knows when. He is a seasoned litigator to say the least. Stephen has been an inspiration and has given me plenty of guidance over the years. It’s an honour to have his as the first ever guest poster on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

So, without further a due; here is the lawyer himself, Stephen Offenheim covering the topic why it’s important NOT TO LIE in your personal injury case. Enjoy!

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident you are forced to deal with a strange bunch of characters. Lawyers, Doctors, Insurance Adjusters, Therapists. It can be quite overwhelming. For many, dealing with the professionals is a strange, intimidating, and quite off putting. So how should you act?

My advice is simple. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Of course there are laws in place regarding insurance fraud. There are criminal and civil penalties. That is good enough reason alone to tell the truth. However, there are important tactical reasons why everything you ever tell anybody about your injuries and the accident, should be the truth.

For your claim to be successful you are going to need to convince someone that your version of events is the one to believe. If you go to trial, a judge and/or jury must be convinced of your version of events. If you are able to resolve the case before trial, you must convince an adjuster or lawyer that there is reason to give you money.
Insurers are much more willing to part with their money, when they believe that the injured person is in fact injured. After years of dealing with millions of claimants. Some legitimate, and some, not so legitimate. They have developed complex systems to determine who has a legitimate claim that deserves payment, and who does not.
Top of the list is credibility. If the adjuster or lawyer on the other side of the case does not believe you have credibility in your claims, their confidence rises, and their willingness to pay money to settle the case decreases.

So how do they know if you are telling the truth? There is no science to this. It is more of an art.

The insurer will have many opportunities to hear what you have to say about the case. Sometimes there will be a statement. Sometimes examination for discovery. They will be reading the notes and records of your doctors. They will be reviewing records provided by OHIP, which shows brief descriptions of your reasons for attendance at doctors. They may hire private investigators to try to catch you doing things that you say you are unable to do. They will do their homework to see if there is a way out of paying.
One time a client of mine was at an examination for discovery. I gave him my talk about how important that it was to tell the truth. The lawyer asked a specific question. “Are you able to do gardening“. Whenever a very specific question like that is asked, I know that there must be some surveillance. My client said “no” he cannot do gardening. I knew the case was shot right there. They must have some surveillance.

The discovery ended, and of course, I found out there was surveillance. I get a copy of footage of a man literally hauling manure in a wheelbarrow. I call my client in. Show him in the man in the garden. He looks closely and replies “That’s my twin brother“. Most people don’t have a twin brother to haul away their $%$@^ for them.

The more consistently the story is told to doctors, adjusters and lawyers, and the more that the story makes sense given any investigation that the insurer does, the more willing they are to open the chequebook.

If the insurer knows they have you caught in a lie, forget it. Settlement will be very difficult.

If you do proceed to trial, and they have you lying at say examination for discovery, your cross examination will not go well. The judge and jury won’t like you, and won’t want to help you.

Your case is only as good as the real facts allow them to be. Outright lying, stretching the truth and embellishment only murky the waters, and make things harder for your case.

Okay, now, with that out of the way, and in the spirit of the Goldfinger Personal Injury Blog, onto non-law related stuff.

I am university educated. I made my way through law school. Whether that makes me intelligent is open for debate, but presumably there is a specific level of intelligence that is required to do that. Yet, despite my education, I am a huge Professional Wrestling fan. This boggles the mind of so many people. 3441527-1986+hulk+color+2.jpeg

Being a fan of the squared circle, I have often found myself defending the sport my entire life. So here goes
1. Yes, I know it’s fake. So is a movie. If you are worried that it is fake, you are missing the point.

2. No, it isn’t a sport in the true sense of the word. It is, “sport’s entertainment”. High risk, high flying entertainment.

3. Yes, it is mostly stupid, and mostly goofy but……..

a. When done well, wrestling can bring the fan to places of elation or tears, anger, and joy. There are these occasions, when a story is so well told, or a human moment happens, when it produces goose bumps.

b. We need more stupid and goofy in our lives.

c. When done well, it is so enjoyable watching a talented performer manipulate a crowd in the palm of his hand.

d. I would rather watch people fake fight, than truly beat the mucous out of each other in MMA.

e. It is an addiction and I can’t stop. And I’d rather be addicted to wrestling than other things.

What did you think about having a guest blogger on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog? Let us know by sending us an email to info@goldfingerlaw.com We always welcome your comments and suggestions.

Finally, we would officially like to welcome our newest lawyer Azka Ahsan to Goldfinger Law. Azka comes to us from Ottawa with a keen interest in insurance, accident and disability claims. We are thrilled to have her aboard and join our team of lawyers. You can reach Azka at azka@goldfingerlaw.com or at 1-877-730-1777

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