You were injured in an auto accident, and you could swear that it was that other guy’s fault, but you received a ticket. You missed a month of work, and you’re still in physical therapy, so the medical bills continue to accumulate. Your court date on your traffic ticket is next week, and you really don’t know what to do. What you want to do is to protect each and every right that you have, and protect any personal injury case that you might have too.
The issue of who got cited doesn’t really matter
Many people believe that if there’s a motor vehicle collision, and somebody received a traffic ticket, the ticket controls the liability aspect of any personal injury case that spins off of the crash. They’re wrong. The law on this issue was established over 60 years ago, and it’s been consistently applied since then. Traffic citations are unsupported opinions of police officers that a traffic offense occurred. If the traffic court judge finds you guilty of the cited offense after a trial, and you pay your fine and court costs, neither of those facts can be used against you in your personal injury case. That’s because traffic court proceedings generally aren’t considered to be reliable and thorough enough to be used against you in a personal injury case.
What if the officer was an eyewitness?
When the officer was an eyewitness to the crash, he or she will be allowed to testify in the injury case as to what was seen and heard. Based on the fact that the police officer was an eyewitness, coupled with his or her experience and training, it’s likely that the judge in the personal injury case will permit the officer to render an opinion on liability too.
Here’s how you can create a problem for your personal injury case
If you plead guilty to the traffic offense that you’re charged with, the judge in your injury case will probably allow a certified copy of your plea into evidence. This may or may not be a problem. But, never attribute liability to yourself or somebody else on the mere fact that a ticket was issued.
A seasoned personal injury attorney’s detailed and thorough investigation into the liability aspects of a case will reveal far more than a Traffic Collision Report.
We represent clients throughout Washington. If you were injured in a traffic crash, and you were issued a citation, but you believe that the accident was the fault of somebody else, contact us right away.