How Does the Outcome of Traffic Court Impact a Personal Injury Case?
A Police Officer Will Come to the Accident Scene
After an auto accident, you should always call the police. They will come to the scene of the accident and survey the scene.
They will speak to both the drivers and people who witnessed the crash. In some cases, they will issue a citation for a traffic violation. This can be very important to your car accident claim.
Even without a ticket for traffic violations, the officer will issue an accident report. The insurance company will consider this when you file a claim.
However, the police report cannot be introduced as evidence at trial because it would be considered hearsay.
Common Traffic Laws That Are Broken in Car Crashes
There are a number of reasons why a driver would receive a ticket for the events that led up to the auto accident.
Common examples of post-accident citations include:
- Running a red light
- Illegal turns
- Drunk driving
- Running a stop sign
Pleading guilty is not something that a driver should take lightly. It could have a number of ramifications for them, especially when it comes to liability for the crash.
Legal counsel would advise a driver to plead no contest to the charges. This would keep the evidence out of the personal injury case.
Does a Traffic Ticket Guarantee Success of a Claim?
In most cases, a traffic ticket impacts your personal injury claim for the better.
One of the biggest challenges that you face in a car accident lawsuit is proving what the other party did to cause the crash. Liability is never assumed in a car crash.
You may claim that the other party was speeding, but you must have the evidence to back it up, especially when the defendant denies your allegations.
When police issue a traffic citation, it helps evidence your side of the story when the other side is convicted.
If the driver pleads guilty, you can use that plea in your civil case as an admission of the facts.
You Can Introduce a Traffic Conviction as Evidence in Your Personal Injury Claim
While your civil case is a different process than the one used for traffic tickets, there is some overlap between the two.
You must still prove your own civil case by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that what you allege is more likely than not to have happened.
However, if the defendant has chosen to plead guilty, You can use that as evidence in your case.
As you will see below, it will go a long way towards proving negligence on the part of the opposing party if the driver received a ticket.
According to Illinois case law, the guilty plea is admissible, but the other driver will get to explain the circumstances behind the guilty plea.
So long as they have this chance, this can be a help to your case.
Anything Said in Traffic Court Is Admissible
What the other driver says at the traffic hearing can be used as corroborating evidence in the civil claim. It may not be used as evidence on its own (for hearsay reasons), but their statements can back up your own claims.
If you find yourself in traffic court, you must take extra care with everything that you say if you plan on filing a personal injury case in the future.
The wrong statement could break your case.
This is why you must consult with a licensed attorney beforehand and watch the precise wording of what you say because it can be treated as an admission of fault in an injury case.
Per Se Negligence and Personal Injury Claims
There is a concept in personal injury law that certain things on their own are evidence of negligence. You would not even need to prove that the other party was negligent when these things occur.
Once these things happen, there is a presumption of negligence that the other driver would need to rebut.
The most common example of per se negligence is a traffic ticket.
On its own, being found guilty of a traffic violation is evidence that the driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances. A reasonable driver follows traffic laws.
You Can File a Civil Lawsuit After a Misdemeanor Case
A traffic citation is only one possible consequence that a driver faces after an auto accident. There are two legal processes.
There is a traffic citation hearing, where the state will punish the driver for breaking the law. They could receive a fine, license suspension or even jail time.
That has nothing to do with your own legal rights. Your legal right is to financial compensation when the driver has violated the law.
You can file a lawsuit even after the defendant pleads guilty to a traffic violation.
What if I Have Received a Traffic Ticket?
If you have been injured in a car accident, and you are facing a traffic ticket case, you must be very careful. The insurance company or a jury will look very closely at your role in the auto accident.
The general rule in car accidents is that you cannot receive financial compensation if you are more than 50% at fault. Therefore, you must also be very careful about a guilty plea in a traffic case.
You should always consult a personal injury attorney before you go into traffic court to get legal advice about how a traffic hearing could affect your case.
If you plead not guilty and are convicted, or if you plead no contest, the ticket may not be able to be used against you.
Contact an Attorney to File a Personal Injury Claim
If you or a loved one have been injured in a traffic accident, you have legal rights.
The law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers helps accident victims as they seek financial compensation in personal injury cases.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online for a free case review.
We will discuss your possible personal injury lawsuit with you at your free consultation and give you legal advice about the best way to recover financially for injuries sustained in a car crash.
Do not delay calling for your free case evaluation.