How Can a Traffic Ticket Impact My Car Accident Claim?
After a serious car accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim to help you seek compensation for the damages you suffered in the accident. In order to seek compensation through a personal injury claim, however, you may need to work with your attorney to establish clear evidence that the other driver’s negligence led to your accident.
Can a traffic ticket issued after an accident serve as compelling evidence of fault in your car accident?
How a Traffic Ticket Can Help Establish Fault
In some cases, you may be able to use the other driver’s traffic ticket to show evidence of fault. For example, a citation for speeding, reckless driving, or driving while distracted could clearly establish that the other driver committed serious acts of negligence that led to the accident. Generally, a police officer will issue a traffic citation if the officer actually observes the dangerous behavior or sees clear evidence of it at the scene of the accident. For example, a police officer might note a driver speeding past them, then arrive later at the scene of the accident. If the other driver ignored a red light and came speeding through the intersection, the police officer might issue a ticket for that behavior based on the positioning of and damage to the vehicles involved in the accident as well as the testimony of witnesses to the accident.
If you have a traffic ticket that clearly shows an act of negligence, it can help establish that the other driver caused the accident, or at least that the other driver’s actions contributed substantially to the accident. Your attorney can often use that evidence to hold the other driver liable for the accident.
Does a Traffic Ticket Always Establish Fault?
While a traffic ticket can be used as evidence in a personal injury claim, especially if the driver who receives the ticket accepts guilt and pays the fine, it does not always establish that the other driver caused the accident.
The ticket only serves to establish what the police officer thinks occurred at the time of the accident.
Most of the time, police officers do not see the accident happen. They typically arrive at the scene well after the initial incident, after someone has a chance to call 911 and summon them to the scene. In some cases, the police officer may need to make some guesses about what happened during the accident itself.
While a police officer will generally only issue a ticket if he has a reasonable idea of what led to the accident, that does not necessarily mean that the officer got a clear picture of what happened. In some cases, the liable driver may contest the ticket and the police officer’s report of what led to the accident.
The liable driver may fight the ticket and even get it thrown out.
If the liable driver gets the ticket thrown out, you may not be able to use it as evidence in your civil case. If the driver does not have to pay the ticket because he disproved the validity of the ticket for some reason, it may no longer serve as evidence of his liability, but rather evidence that will help prove that his actions alone did not cause the accident.
The liable driver may also choose to plead “no contest” and pay the fine without accepting liability. In that case, you may not be able to use the ticket as part of a civil trial.
What Should You Do If You Think the Liable Driver Got a Ticket?
The driver who caused your accident should have received a ticket. You may even think that you saw him receive a ticket at the scene of the accident while you dealt with other concerns.
What happens next? Can you use that ticket as part of a personal injury claim later? Follow these steps if you believe or know that the driver that caused your accident received a ticket for any reckless behavior.
1. Notify your attorney.
Let your attorney know that you suspect the liable driver got issued a ticket, what behavior you think that ticket was issued for, and any evidence that you have of the driver’s reckless behavior. Your attorney can determine whether the ticket will serve as viable evidence and even look up information about the ticket.
2. Look up the police report from the accident.
The police report will often contain information about other citations issued at the scene of the accident, whether for speeding, drinking and driving, or reckless driving behavior. The police report serves as an officer’s report of the circumstances that likely led to the accident. That does not necessarily mean, however, that the police report is infallible. Sometimes, the police report will contain errors or incorrect information which you may need to have your lawyer contest as you move forward with your personal injury claim.
Will a Lack of a Ticket Influence My Claim?
Sometimes, you may have clear reason to believe that the other driver deserved a ticket for his reckless behavior. On further investigation, however, you may discover that the other driver did not issue one. While the presence of a ticket can serve as evidence for your personal injury claim, the lack of a ticket will not prevent you from filing a claim for the compensation you deserve after your accident. Talk to your attorney about the negligent actions on the part of the other driver that you believe may have contributed to the accident. Your attorney will help gather evidence related to your claim, including witness statements, evaluation of the damage to the two vehicles, and any video footage of the accident.
Did you suffer a Nevada car accident resulting in serious injury? Whether the other driver received a ticket or not, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim that will help you seek the compensation you deserve for those injuries. Contact Gina Corena & Associates today at 702-680-1111 for a free consultation about your car accident claim.