A car accident is a traumatic experience, especially if you’ve suffered serious injuries with medical expenses and time away from work causing missed paychecks. But what happens when the trauma continues after the accident when you’re ticketed by law enforcement at the same time you’re trying to prove the other driver liable for damages due to their negligence?
If another driver’s careless or reckless actions cause a car accident, it’s important to know how a traffic ticket can impact your claim.
When Can You Get a Ticket After a Car Accident?
Police officers do not always issue tickets after a car accident because in most cases, they were not present to witness any traffic law violations. Only if they consider the evidence they have as particularly strong, such as traffic camera video or eyewitness testimony, might they choose to issue a ticket. This means a driver involved in an accident can receive a ticket days or even weeks after the accident took place due to law enforcement officers’ investigation. Drivers involved in car accidents may receive a ticket citing any of the following offenses depending on the circumstances of the accident:
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection or while merging
- Running a red light or a stop sign
- Failing to signal before turning, merging, or changing lanes
- Drifting out of a lane
Depending on the investigation, a driver could also face more serious traffic violation charges such as drunk driving, distracted driving, or reckless driving.
How Does a Traffic Ticket Affect My Car Accident Case?
The impacts of a traffic citation or ticket for a moving violation can seriously impact a car accident claim for compensation. Depending on the violation cited on the ticket, it could greatly impact a legal claim in which you are trying to prove the other driver liable for damages. However, it’s important to know that the violation can only be used against you in your claim if you plead guilty or go to court and are found guilty of the violation. Signing and paying for a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt. If you fight the ticket in court, it may be used to show that your negligence caused or contributed to the accident only if you plead guilty or are found guilty. By pleading “no contest” the ticket cannot be used as evidence that you were negligent and caused the accident.
Traffic Tickets and Comparative Negligence in Texas
Texas has a fault-based insurance law that works by determining each party’s portion of negligence in an accident. In some cases, one driver may be 100% responsible for the accident and liable for all of the damages. In other circumstances, each driver may have contributed to the accident. Depending on the type of ticket issued, it could indicate that you contributed to the accident if you’re found guilty. For example, even if the other driver ran a red light, if you were speeding at the time of the accident, you could be found 20% at fault. In a $100,000 claim, you’d still receive $80,000. However, if you’re the driver ticketed and found guilty of running the traffic light and causing an accident, you’d be the one liable for damages or the greater percentage of the damages.
It’s always important to seek representation by an experienced Frisco car accident attorney after an accident in Texas, but if you’ve received a traffic ticket, it’s especially important to hire an attorney to defend your rights and protect your best interests.