Car accidents cause serious injury and sometimes, negligent individuals need to be held liable for paying damages to help offset the costs of those injuries. It is for this reason that Illinois law requires drivers to call law enforcement any time a collision on the road results in injury. When a police officer arrives on the scene, they may issue a traffic ticket to a driver that broke the law. Accident victims are sometimes encouraged by this, thinking that it will help when they file their accident injury claim. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
When a police officer investigates a car accident, they may issue a traffic ticket, also known as a citation, to one of the drivers. Once the traffic ticket is issued, the criminal justice system has started playing a role in the crash. The driver can either pay the ticket, in which case they are admitting guilt, or they can contest the ticket in court.
If the traffic violation resulted in injury to another person, the accident victim has a legal right to file an injury claim against the driver that broke the law and caused a crash. This is not a criminal case though. Instead, this is a civil law matter.
Generally speaking, a criminal case will have no bearing on a civil case. In fact, juries are not allowed to hear evidence based on a person receiving a traffic ticket or being found guilty of a criminal offense. In many instances, even the outcome of the case is not admissible in court.
While a traffic ticket will not always impact a personal injury claim, there are times when one can. This is when the driver who was issued a ticket admits fault.
For example, if Driver A was texting and driving and crashed into Driver B as a result, they may receive a ticket for the offense. If the case went to criminal court and Driver A contested it, a civil jury could not be told of the traffic ticket or of what occurred in court. On the other hand, if Driver A admitted in court that they were texting and driving at the time of the crash, evidence of the citation could be told to a civil jury. Many courts have also determined that drivers who simply pay the ticket are admitting guilt and so, evidence of the ticket can also generally be used in these cases, as well.
It is not uncommon for drivers to simply pay a traffic ticket and then forget about it, particularly when the citation was for a common offense, such as speeding. This is very helpful for accident victims, as it can prove the driver was negligent and make it easier to show they are now liable for paying damages.
Traffic citations can provide important evidence in an injury claim but even when they do not, our Illinois car accident lawyer will gather other evidence to prove your case. At Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd., our skilled attorney knows how to prove the claims of accident victims so they receive the full settlement they deserve, and we can do this for you, too. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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