How a Traffic Ticket Impacts an Auto Injury Case
Written by Greg on March 20, 2020
In Houston, Texas, the odds of being in an injury accident while driving are more significant than not. Between traffic congestion, driver distraction, and the sheer number of drivers on the roadway means that an accident Houston is not an uncommon occurrence.
After an accident, unless it is a fender bender, if the police come, the investigating officer will look at the facts, talk to witnesses and the other drivers and make a preliminary determination as to fault. If the officer decides that an individual broke the law, the officer may write a traffic citation to that person. In Texas, if the property damages is over $1000, or the crash resulted in an injury or death, the officer must complete a crash report.
Sometimes, the officer may not issue tickets or may find more than one person partially at fault. Also, the officer may not determine fault due to conflicting statements and may decline to write any traffic tickets.
How Do I Get a Copy of the Crash Report?
Click here to read an article we wrote about how to get a Houston accident report.
How Does a Ticket Affect My Case?
The officer’s determination at the scene is not the ultimate decision as to who is at fault. There are many instances where the officer’s opinion as to responsibility is contrary to the finding of a jury. Sometimes, the officer’s conclusions as to the cause of the crash are admitted into court, and other times the officer’s opinions are excluded. Here is an article we wrote about the admissibility of testimony from an investigating officer.
Can a Traffic Ticket be Used in Court?
Maybe. If the person who received the ticket pled guilty, the court might allow the jury to hear about the plea. If the ticket was dismissed, generally, the court will not let the jury hear that a traffic citation was issued. If the person who received the ticket pleads “no contest,” and pays the ticket, it probably will not come into evidence in a civil case from an auto accident injury.
What Should I Do if I Was Issued a Ticket?
If you are issued a ticket in an accident that resulted in an injury, you probably want to consult an attorney who handles traffic tickets. Pleading guilty might allow the jury to hear about your ticket and the plea. You may also want to contact your automobile insurance company and discuss your options. If you were injured and believed the other party was more fault, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and options.
Texas uses a comparative responsibility approach to personal injury lawsuits. In Texas, if you are in an accident and found to be higher than 50% at fault, you generally will be barred from collecting damages. If you are 50% or less at fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility, as found by the jury. Briefly, unless you were greater than 50% at fault, you still may collect damages in Texas.
What Should I Do if the Other Party Got a Ticket?
If the other party was involved in an automobile accident with received a citation, you probably want to monitor the status of that ticket. You also may be called to testify in court if the person contests the ticket. If you are called to testify, you show up on the date you are subpoenaed or asked to appear and tell the truth. If you’re injured in the accident, you probably want to contact your injury attorney before testifying.
Consult an Auto Accident Attorney in Houston
If you were injured in an automobile accident and have questions, consult the best automobile accident attorney in Houston you can find for your case. Whether a ticket was issued is one of the many factors a skilled attorney will use to evaluate the viability. Most reputable car accident lawyers offer free consultations. It would help if you spoke with an attorney and not a paralegal or staff member for legal advice.
Call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a no-obligation consultation about an injury accident. Call 281-587-1111.