By: Matthew Tievsky
If you are injured by a negligent driver, the police may decide to bring
traffic charges against that driver. This tends to happen where the collision
is more serious (for example, the impact was severe or the other driver
was intoxicated) and the police firmly believe that the other driver was
at fault. Will that traffic case affect your personal injury lawsuit against
the other driver?
Not directly, no. In your personal injury lawsuit, we cannot tell the jury
that the police issued a ticket (since the police didn't actually
see the collision). Nor can we tell the jury that there were charges against
the other driver. Even if the driver is convicted by a jury, we can't
tell that to the jury in
your lawsuit, because a conviction in a criminal case and a finding of liability
in a civil case are two different things. However, if the other driver
testifies at his traffic trial, we can use his statements against him
in your personal injury lawsuit.
On the same note, if the other driver pleads guilty to a traffic charge,
we can use that plea against him in your personal injury lawsuit, because that is an admission by the defendant himself. So if there is
a traffic case against the defendant, this doesn't automatically resolve
your personal injury lawsuit, but it can provide very helpful evidence.
If you have any questions about the relationship between traffic cases
and personal injury lawsuits, you should contact the personal injury attorneys
at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.