By: Matthew Tievsky
In some of the auto accident cases that we handle in Maryland, the defendant
whom we are suing received a ticket from a police officer, as a result
of the collision. What effect does this have on your personal injury case?
Usually it has no direct effect. Traffic tickets are issued under the criminal
law of Maryland, but a personal injury lawsuit is handled under the
civil law of Maryland. This means that even if the traffic court finds the defendant
liable under the criminal law, that verdict does not transfer over to
your civil case.
The exception is where the defendant pleads guilty in traffic court –
this is an admission by the defendant that can be used in your civil case
against the defendant. But simply paying the traffic fine does not count as a guilty plea, in
Maryland. The defendant needs to show up to court and plead guilty.
On the other hand, if the defendant shows up to traffic court, this can
be useful whether or not the defendant pleads guilty. If the defendant
testifies at traffic court, his/her statements can be used at the civil
trial in your case.
This is useful if the defendant tells a different story at your trial,
than the story that the defendant told at traffic court.
If you have any questions about your possible Maryland car accident case,
and how it might be affected by a related traffic case, you should contact
the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.