I was given a traffic ticket as a result of the accident and the tractor-trailer driver was not – do I still have a way to recover for my injuries?
You may. Traffic citations are not admissible as evidence in civil, personal injury cases unless the cited individual pleads guilty. Why? Pleading guilty is viewed by the law as an admission, whereas a finding of guilt by a judge or jury is not.
In other words, if you plead not guilty and a judge or jury determines that, legally, you are guilty, the mere fact that you received a traffic ticket does not harm you in an injury case.
Traffic tickets are given based upon the responding police officer’s judgment after investigating the scene of the accident. Police officers do not always get it right. If you believe that a truck driver, not you, was at fault – or more at fault than you – it is worth speaking with an Atlanta trucking accident lawyer.
At the Law Offices of Andrew Goldner, we help with any issue that could be keeping you from recovering financially from your truck accident. This includes dealing with insurance, fighting traffic citations, and pursuing negligent drivers and trucking companies for damages.
Call us at (404) 869-1580 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We’ll go over the details of your accident and prepare for a successful financial recovery.
Georgia’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rules
Traffic tickets are a concern, but not always a “case ender,” when seeking damages in a truck accident injury case because of Georgia’s modified comparative negligence statute. In some states, you’re eligible to recover damages even when you’re 99% responsible, but in Georgia, you may only do so if you are 49% or less responsible.
If you’re issued a traffic citation related to your accident, pleading guilty could mean a significant increase to the amount of blame a jury would assign you. Speeding, distracted driving, stopping violations, and plenty of other traffic infringements can all lead or contribute to avoidable accidents. Therefore, it’s important to fight back against unfairly-issued traffic tickets.
If you are unable to fight your ticket, a “guilty” finding for your traffic citation does not automatically mean you are barred from recovering damages. So long as you are still 49% or less responsible for the accident, you are still eligible for recovery. However, every percent of blame you accept means a reduction in the total amount of damages for which you would be eligible.
Receiving a Ticket Is Not Definitive Proof of Fault
Fighting your traffic ticket in court does not necessarily mean you’ll get it overturned, but it’s important to fight it anyway. Even if a judge or jury finds you guilty of a traffic/rules of the road violation, it cannot be held against you in a personal injury case.
If, however, you plead guilty to the citation, it can be used as evidence. For this reason, fighting a traffic ticket when also dealing with a personal injury case can help you much more than you might expect.
Pursue the Maximum Damages For Your Truck Accident Injuries
A traffic ticket is not admissible as evidence on its own, but if you plead guilty it can be used as evidence against you.
This does not mean that the same evidence the police officer used to justify their ticket will not be used against you. The police officer’s report of the accident may still be admitted as evidence. If they believe you were responsible, you should still be prepared to defend against accusations of negligence.
Having seasoned legal representation on your side will help you formulate a solid defense against the claims insurance and trucking companies are likely to throw your way. Even if a police officer’s report or testimony puts blame on you, you are still eligible to recover damages as long as you are not found more than 49% responsible.
Truck accident cases are often complex and messy, and a variety of factors come into play when determining fault. As long as you and a qualified Atlanta truck accident attorney can prove that the truck driver or some other third party was also responsible for the accident, you stand a chance at recovering damages to cover your injuries, property damage, and lost wages.
Even still, it is in your best interest to fight any allegations of fault to the extent possible. Any reduction in your settlement or award can mean unpaid medical bills and other consequences that make it more difficult for you to resume a normal life after your accident.
Don’t Give Up if You Are Issued a Traffic Citation in Your Truck Accident Injury Case
Police officers make mistakes just like anyone else. If you believe your traffic ticket was issued in error, an experienced local big truck accident attorney will improve your chances of having it overturned. At the very least, it’s important to avoid pleading guilty or paying the fine, as doing so can hurt your chances of recovering damages from a related personal injury case.
Andrew Goldner has helped many people in your situation. If you’re being blamed for a truck accident or are afraid your traffic citation will hurt your chances at recovery, we can help fight back.
Don’t let a traffic ticket or the aggressive tactics of a trucking company and their insurance representatives deter you from fighting for the maximum damages you need to adequately recover from your injuries. Give us a call at (404) 869-1580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at your convenience.