Posted on 12/02/2021 at 08:00 AM by The Biker Lawyers
Traffic tickets may have a bigger impact on your Personal Injury Lawsuit than you think.
Top of the morning biker faithful. Traffic tickets can help or hurt your chances in a personal injury lawsuit, so let’s dive right into three things you need to know to understand what these tickets mean.
1. Paying a traffic ticket is an admission of guilt.
Why is this relevant? Let’s toss you into a quick hypothetical:
It’s a cold autumnal morning and you’re out riding your bike through town. A car on your left speeds up whips into your lane ahead of you, then has to slam the brakes due to the car in front of them. You slam your brakes on, but you’ve gone from having a safe distance ahead of you, to having no goddamn distance at all because of this driver. You smash into the back of their car and go propelling through the air like a ragdoll.
You wake up in the hospital, and a cop has written you a ticket for failure to stop in an assured clear distance.
Now let’s move past how unfair and ridiculous that ticket is, and look at this logically. If you pay that ticket, you’re admitting guilt for an action that wasn’t your fault. You drove safely but didn’t get a chance to tell the police officer your side of the story after the crash, and the driver of the car is obviously going to cover their own ass.
If you admit that guilt by paying for the ticket, you have already damaged your potential personal injury lawsuit to help you recover from all the damage you’ve suffered.
Why is this?
Liability is the first fighting issue in any personal injury lawsuit. Liability is the determination of fault. Iowa law looks at a legal term called “comparative fault”. What this fancy term means is that you only have a case so long as your fault in the matter is 50% or less. By admitting fault, you’re complicating the question of liability the wrong way, and lessening your chances to recover full damages.
2. Getting a traffic ticket is not the end of the world, but it does not help your case.
If you go through that same hypothetical and don’t pay the ticket, you have to contest it with a not-guilty plea. You can’t just ignore the traffic ticket. Personal Injury attorneys may be willing to help you out with certain traffic tickets, to help you protect your personal injury case.
Regardless, understand that traffic tickets (citations from police) are never a good look if you are pursuing a personal injury case, but when you’re given one wrongfully, there are legal remedies at your disposal. If you find yourself in this boat, make sure you talk to us right away.
3. If the other driver is ticketed and pays the fine, they just unwittingly made your personal injury case easier to prove.
That’s because once the other driver pays the ticket, it is an admission that they violated the rules of the road, which equals negligence. Just like paying a traffic ticket makes your personal injury case more difficult for you, once the other driver pays a ticket, he has put himself behind the eight ball. The fact of payment of the ticket can be used against the other driver to show that they have admitted fault for the crash.