Traffic tickets can affect personal injury cases sometimes. If you have been in a car crash and are ticketed for something relating to the cause of the crash, how you plead can impact a case. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of that violation, the conviction probably will be admissible in the trial of the personal injury claim. Examples would be following too closely, speedy, and failure to yield the right-of-way.
In some crash scenarios, there are multiple traffic tickets issued. Some may relate to the causation of the crash, and others may refer to unrelated violations. Examples of unrelated violations would include not having automobile insurance and expired inspection.
When the Defendant Pleads Guilty
When a defendant pleads guilty to a traffic citation, the violation and his plea should be admissible in a personal injury trial if the citation is related to the cause of the crash. When a defendant pleads no contest, the plea should not be admissible in a personal injury case. If the defendant is found guilty, it will be treated the same as a guilty plea.
If the plea is not admissible, that does not prevent the conduct from being heard by the jury. Such a case would prevent a jury from hearing about the ticket or plea.
If the person who caused the crash pled guilty to a ticket related to negligence causing the wreck, the chances are improved that the case will not have to go to court.
What is “No Contest”?
A plea of no contest means you admit the state’s charges against you. However, unlike a guilty plea, a plea of no contest may not be used against you in a subsequent civil damage trial. Pleading no contest means you do not contest the charges against you. Still, the plea can’t be used against you and a personal injury trial.
What Steps to Take When the Other Driver is Ticketed
If you suffered an injury due to an accident caused by the other driver, you might want to follow up with any traffic tickets that the other driver received. Sometimes, you may be asked to testify by the District Attorney.
If you are asked to testify or accept a subpoena, notify your personal injury attorney. If you do testify, you should be honest and forthcoming with your testimony. Speaking with your personal injury lawyer can help you prepare for your testimony.
Often, a person is called to testify, and the trial never happens. Because the case is dismissed, the officer failed to show, or the court cannot try the number of cases they have on the trial docket that day. If the district attorney asks you to testify, consider asking whether the case will go to trial or if it might be dismissed.
If your injuries are severe and your medical needs substantial, monitoring the criminal trial may be something your injury attorney may want to consider.
Don’t Assume That Because the Other Driver Got a Ticket, Liability is Fixed
The fact is insurance companies defend cases every day when liability is clear. Often the dispute is about what is “fair compensation.” Nevertheless, in trying to avoid paying, the defense will question liability.
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