It is very common for a person with a pending car accident claim to ask questions regarding if getting traffic tickets in the meantime will have an affect on the outcome of the current auto accident settlement case. The legal is answer is no, getting a recent traffic ticket will not have any impact on the outcome of a local car accident claim case.
This is a question that comes up quite often, especially by people that have a stack of tickets in their junk drawer. While we wish this was quick and easy answer, it is not. You should also know that tickets can actually work both for and against you when issued at the scene of the accident. Today, we are going to take a look at how tickets received prior to an accident as well as any citations at the scene of the accident could impact a case.
While a traffic ticket may not impact your car accident settlement in most cases, new traffic citations will negatively affect your auto insurance rate with a price increase, and hurt your driving record history. The most common misdemeanor traffic tickets today are for speeding, reckless driving, and rolling through a stop sign at an intersection, but fortunately these common driving infractions will not have any affect on an ongoing seperate car accident lawsuit case seeking a monetary compensation claim settlement.
At Injury Laws Rights, our top-rated personal injury attorney offices have vast experience with providing trusted Board Certified free lawyer help for local vehicle accident claim cases. Our accident legal experts understand local auto collision law, at fault liability insurance, and have a case-winning record of success maximizing a car crash claim settlement payout amount for clients.
Tickets Before Accident
Part of the process of any car accident claim or lawsuit is to prove negligence on the part of the driver. If a driver, for instance, has a long history of going through red lights, documented by numerous citations, this could be something that works against a claim if there were no witnesses and no traffic cams. The opposing attorney could use the previous citations to establish a pattern of driving behavior. Your attorney’s job, in a case such as this, is to prove that those previous citations have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the case at hand.
Tickets Related to Accident
This is where things can get a bit muddier for both sides. For instance, let’s say a driver stops unexpectedly and you hit that driver. An officer arrives and issues both drivers citations. Upon inspecting the vehicle that was hit, the officers cites the operator for having non-working taillights. The second driver gets cited for reckless driving. Since the taillights of the first vehicle were not working, is it a reasonable assumption the second driver had no way of knowing the lead car was coming to a halt?
In a case like this, the first driver, at the very least, would more than likely be found partially at fault, if not completely at fault for having failed to properly maintain his or her vehicle.
Common Types of Citations for Car Accidents
There are three types of citations that we generally see issued during car accident claims:
- Reckless Driving
- California Stop
Believe it or not, this is not always issued when a driver is going over the speed limit. If, for instance, there was a driving rainstorm with limited visibility, drivers are expected to slow down and drive more cautiously. If an accident is caused and one of the drivers was issued a speeding citation, it could be traced back to being the cause of the accident.
This violation might as well be labeled the kiss of death. Because of the vague definition used by most states, this citation could be issued for almost any reason where there is an accident. Most states define this as the safe operation of the vehicle, so even a quick swerve to avoid something could be deemed as reckless driving by an officer. Tickets are also issued for reckless driving when operators are breaking the speed limit excessively. For instance, driving 70 mph in a posted 30mph speed limit zone.
There is probably not an experienced driver on the road that is not guilty of this one. You approach a red light or stop sign, slow down, but never quite stop before making a turn or rolling right through the intersection. In a worse-case scenario, you fail to see a car and get hit just as you make you the turn. We see this more in pedestrian related accidents, as drivers often fail to check their right before making the turn when doing a California stop. Regardless, if you were cited for a California stop, the deck is going to be stacked against you.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
While we would always recommend to at least consult an attorney, if you received a ticket or have a history of tickets, we would highly encourage you to seek legal counsel in the case of a car accident that is resulting in a claim.
As you can tell be reading above, these waters can get particularly muddy due to how even past traffic citations could be used against you, even by your insurance company, after submitting a claim. Even if you are the party at fault in a car accident, it does not cost you anything to have an initial consultation with an attorney, so, yes, we highly recommend, at the very least, you discuss the case with an attorney specializing in car accidents and personal injury.
If you are ready to discuss your case with a member of our team, give us a call at 855-633-0888. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before reaching out to our team, please fill out the Free Car Accident Injury Consultation Form.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and Injury law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any injuries from vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.