Fraudulent concealment occurs when a person or organization hides or fails to disclose certain facts that they are legally required to disclose. In order for the person or organization to be held liable, their concealment must be intentional. Although this can happen in a number of different settings, the term “fraudulent concealment” often refers to a person’s failure to disclose dangerous conditions on a premises.
An example of fraudulent concealment is where an employer fails to warn workers of dangerous conditions that the employer is aware of on the work premises. If an employee gets injured as a result of the concealment, then a cause of action for fraudulent concealment may exist.
Like any legal claim, fraudulent concealment cases can involve a number of different legal defenses. These of course will depend on the exact facts associated in each case. Some defenses may include:
- Lack of intent: As mentioned, the concealment must be voluntary, and the defendant must have acted intentionally in deceiving the plaintiff regarding the danger.
- Contributory or comparative negligence: It may be a defense if the plaintiff contributed to their injury due to their own negligence. This may sometimes reduce the damages or may prevent the plaintiff from recovering altogether, depending on the jurisdiction.
- Lack of knowledge: The defendant may not be liable if there was no way they could have had knowledge of the danger or condition.
Various other defenses may apply, such as fraud (for instance, if the plaintiff has filed a fraudulent claim). When proving a defense in a concealment claim, the court may need to consider evidence such as witness testimony, medical documents, or injury reports.
Concealment claims can also be based on lies or misinformation conveyed by the defendant. For instance, if the defendant makes misrepresentations regarding the levels of toxic gases in a room or about the stability of a structure, these misrepresentations can form the basis of a concealment claim. Thus, while the defendant may not have totally concealed the existence of a danger, they might be held liable if they present wrong or misleading facts about a danger which then causes injury to the victim.
Fraudulent concealment is a serious violation and can result in penalties such as fines or even a criminal sentence. You may need to hire a civil lawyer if you have any legal issues or claims involving fraudulent concealment. Your attorney can provide you when it comes to filing a claim, researching laws, or other law-related tasks. Also, if you need to make an appearance in court, your attorney can provide you with legal representation during the process.