You are watchful and vigilant when you drive. You do not take unnecessary chances and you obey all the traffic rules. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of all drivers. There are people on the road who should not be there and should not have a license. If you have been injured in an accident with a reckless driver, you have the right to make an auto accident injury claim.
One of the first things you will need to do after the accident is to call the police. If you have been injured, you should move as little as possible. You should wait to be taken to the nearest hospital by first responders.
The police officer who arrives at the scene will investigate the circumstances that led to the accident. They will question you and the other driver. They will also question people who witnessed the crash. Everything that you tell the officer should be based in fact. However, you need not admit fault for the accident.
The responding officer will make a preliminary determination as to fault after they have carried out their investigation. If they decide that you broke the law, then they may give you a traffic citation.
What to do if You Have Received a Traffic Ticket
Getting a traffic citation from a police officer can affect your personal injury claim. However, traffic tickets can be challenged. The word of the officer who found you at fault is not final. If you received a traffic citation by the responding officer, you should hire a personal injury lawyer before you do anything else.
To minimize the damage that such a traffic ticket can cause to your case, you may want to contest it and to try to get it dismissed. The judgment of the officer who wrote you the ticket may be found to be incorrect. Police officers can only carry out a limited investigation into the circumstances that led to the accident. The lawyer you hire will bring resources to bear that can shed more light on what happened and who was at fault. If your lawyer can gather the kind of evidence that undermines the police officer’s report and justification for issuing you a ticket, then you may be able to get the ticket dismissed. In this instance, the officer’s opinions and conclusions will not be admitted into court, if you need to pursue your injury claim that far. If you plead no contest to the ticket and you pay it, then it will likewise not come into evidence in any civil suit you may file.
Why You Need Good Representation
You should retain legal counsel immediately after the accident. Your ability to get fair and adequate compensation depends on it. The aim of your attorney will be to get you as much money as they can. They will try to do so through a settlement, which will save you the trouble and expense of going through litigation and a possible trial. Sometimes, litigation may be unavoidable. The at-fault party may like their chances of winning in a civil action, especially if you received a traffic ticket after the accident. The ticket itself may not be presented as evidence in a trial.
Anything you say in a traffic court may be used in a personal injury lawsuit. The legal team of the other party will scrutinize the transcripts of the traffic hearing carefully and will try to use your words as evidence against you. Statements that are not intended to admit fault or guilt can be twisted and turned to make it seem like you have acknowledged wrongdoing. That is why you must be careful and precise with the language you use during a traffic hearing.
The only way to prepare yourself for the traffic hearing and the subsequent pursuit of an auto accident injury claim is to hire a lawyer who specializes in these cases. Your lawyer will provide you with the wording you need to fulfill your legal obligation, to tell the truth, while protecting your material interests as a personal injury claimant.
Your lawyer will also know how to defend against the other side’s attempt to discredit your claim.
If you were cited by police for doing something wrong—something that may have contributed to the accident—then it may seem that the facts are on the side of the person you are suing. However, this is not always the case. The only way to get to the truth of how the accident unfolded is to conduct a thorough investigation.
Your lawyer may send their in-house investigative team to the scene of the accident, as the police officer who responded to the accident may have missed important details. The investigators will also interview people who witnessed the accident. There may have been people there who saw what happened but did not want to talk to the police. The same individuals may be willing to speak to your investigators. One of them may have even captured the entire accident on their cell phone camera, which is the kind of evidence that may corroborate your version of events.
Your attorney may also bring in forensic experts to carry out a more thorough analysis of the damage done to each vehicle and the debris patterns left by the accident. Their findings may also undercut the conclusions reached by the officer who wrote you the ticket. Even the nature and extent of your injuries can be submitted as evidence in your favor. The personal injury lawyer you hired will bring in medical experts who can explain to a jury how you received the injuries and the kind of impact that must have caused them.
The bottom line is that you should never admit guilt for a traffic accident to a law enforcement officer. You should speak to a lawyer and figure out your options with the only person who will have your interests in mind.