The Driver I was Involved in an Accident With Pleaded Guilty in Traffic Court. What Does That Mean?
An at-fault driver’s guilty plea in traffic court is usually admissible in a civil case related to the accident because it is considered an admission of fault.
Many drivers who cause car accidents where people are injured receive a traffic ticket or citation related to their conduct. A traffic ticket is usually addressed in traffic court, where the matter is heard by a judge. Because a traffic court is considered a quasi-criminal tribunal and there are different standards for evidence, the outcome of a traffic court case is usually inadmissible in a civil court where automobile accident lawsuits involving personal injuries are filed.
However, if a person pleads guilty in a traffic case, such evidence is almost universally admissible in a civil case because it is considered to be an admission of a party (Hartigan v. Robertson, 87 Ill. App. 3d 732 (Ill. App. Ct. 1980); Cogdill v. Durham, 43 Ill. App. 3d 940 (Ill. App. Ct. 1976)). In situations where a driver has pled guilty to a traffic violation, a certified copy of the plea may be ordered and used as evidence in the personal injury matter.
Why Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Early in the Legal Process can be Important
For most people, getting into a car crash is an unexpected and traumatic event. Sometimes, dealing with the immediate aftermath of an accident results in delaying hiring a lawyer until months after the event. In some situations, the delay is irrelevant. In others, the delay in having legal representation early on can prejudice your rights for recovery down the road.
One of the reasons you should have an attorney representing your interests in the injury context is that they can tell you when and where any ancillary traffic court case is scheduled and if you need to be present for the case. In the majority of car accident cases when a driver is ticketed, the case may be continued numerous times before it is heard before a judge. These continuances can be frustrating and difficult to keep track of. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC we track every traffic court case related to our client’s accident and can advise you when and where you need to be present to testify. In many situations, we will have one of our attorneys at the traffic court date to help you as well as a court reporter to document the testimony of the defendant-driver and any witnesses.
Do You Have Questions About the Traffic Court Case Related to Your Accident?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is committed to providing the best possible representation to individuals injured in car accidents in Illinois. If you have questions about a traffic court hearing or other matter related to your accident, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your legal rights and obligations with you. Contact our office today to begin the process of getting the compensation you deserve.