Baltimore auto accident lawyer

What if You Accidentally Provide False Information During Discovery in Maryland?

The discovery process is one of the most crucial steps in the civil judicial process. It is how the parties exchange valuable information so that each may build the strongest case possible. You risk serious trouble with the court if you accidentally provide false information during discovery.

If you provide false information during the discovery process, the court may impose serious penalties against you and your attorney. The court might sanction your lawyer for allowing false information to be exchanged, and you might face criminal charges for perjury. Providing false information and evidence during discovery is easier than many people think. Accidental disclosures of incorrect information are not unusual. You might mistakenly provide the wrong information during a deposition or interrogatory or hand over the wrong documents. To protect yourself from legal penalties, we must act quickly to bring the mistake to the court and the opposing party’s attention so it can be fixed before any damage is done. We should also work to prove that the disclosure was truly accidental.

For a review of your case for no cost, call our Maryland personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Consequences of Providing False Information During Discovery in Maryland

If you provide false information during the discovery process in your Maryland civil lawsuit, there might be consequences for you and your attorney. Generally, if the false information resulted from a genuine mistake, there might not be any legal penalties if we act quickly to fix the problem. However, letting the problem go even after discovering the mistake may be penalized.

First, the opposing party might move for sanctions against your attorney. According to Md. R. Civ. Pro. Cir. Cts. § 2-432(a), a party may move for sanctions if discovery requests are left unanswered. The rule specifically mentions failures to appear for depositions or failures to provide answers to interrogatories, but providing false information may also be grounds for sanctions, depending on the situation.

Under Md. R. Civ. Pro. Cir. Cts. § 2-433(a), sanctions may include an order from the court to turn over materials sought during discovery by the opposing party. More seriously, the court might refuse to allow us to oppose or support certain claims. For example, if you provide false information about your pain and suffering, the court might refuse to allow you to support any claims for those damages.

You might also be charged with perjury. According to Md. Code Crim. Law Art. § 9-101(a), the crime of perjury includes willfully and falsely making an oath or affirmation to a material fact, usually to a court or in an affidavit. This is considered a misdemeanor offense and may be punished by up to 10 years of incarceration.

How Someone Might Provide False Information During Discovery by Accident in Maryland

The discovery process usually takes time to complete and involves exchanging numerous forms of evidence. One might imagine that discovery involves packing up your evidence into a box and sliding it across the table to the opposing party, but this is not how it works. While documents and tangible objects may be exchanged, there might also be interviews and other forms of communication. Providing false information during these stages, even by accident, might spell big trouble.

A major part of discovery includes depositions and interrogatories. A deposition is a face-to-face interview or question-and-answer session. The parties may depose each other in addition to witnesses. You are under oath during a deposition and may be subject to direct and cross-examination, like in a trial. You might be accused of perjury if you provide false information during a deposition. It is imperative to your defense that our Baltimore personal injury lawyers prove that the false information was accidental.

The same goes for interrogatories. These are similar to depositions, except they are written and not conducted face-to-face. The opposing party might email you and your attorney questions that you can answer and send back. Providing false information here might also cause major issues later.

It can be easy to mistakenly provide the wrong information. For example, you might give information you believe is true at the moment but later turns out to be false. Alternatively, you might give incorrect information because you misunderstood a question.

Providing incorrect documents or documents with incorrect information might also be a huge problem that leads to legal penalties. You might have given incorrect documentation due to clerical errors or because discovery requests were unclear.

Defending Yourself if You Accidentally Provide False Information During Discovery in Maryland

The first thing we should do if we realize you have accidentally provided false information during discovery is to fix the mistake as soon as it is realized. Tell your attorney immediately if you realize you said something wrong or provided the wrong files. We can contact the opposing party’s counsel and try to rectify the situation without any legal penalties.

It is crucial that we inform the opposing party about the mistake immediately. Hiding your mistake will not look good at all. If too much time has passed and the opposing party has built their case using false information, the judge will likely get involved. While there might be some consequences, we can hopefully avoid perjury charges if we prove you made a mistake and did not knowingly provide false information.

How to Avoid Providing Incorrect Information During Discovery in Maryland

Have your lawyer review everything! Before handing anything over to the opposing party or answering any questions, review it with your lawyer. If something feels off to you, tell them. It is better to take our time with the discovery process to make sure we get it right than to accidentally make a mistake and pay for it later.

If you have questions about any questions during a deposition or an interrogatory, please ask. Ask for clarification on anything if you need it. If you are gathering documents, review them with your lawyer before handing them over to the opposing party. Try to substantiate anything you have questions about. If you do not know how, talk to your lawyer.

Talk to Our Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys

For a review of your case for no cost, call our Dundalk personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.