What happens if another driver negligently injures you, but a police officer issues you a ticket? Does that mean you can’t file a lawsuit? In fact, the answer is no. What happens on the traffic court side, with few exceptions, does not affect the civil side. The police officer who gave you the ticket presumably wasn’t at the scene of the accident – the officer is just making his/her own personal judgment that you were at fault. But the officer could be wrong.
When a Maryland auto accident happens, there are two different kinds of legal cases that may follow. The first is a traffic court case – the charges that the State of Maryland may decide to bring against one of the drivers. That usually begins when an investigating police officer issues a ticket. In addition, there can be a civil case – where a person who’s harmed in an auto accident files a lawsuit against another driver.
But what if you pay the ticket? Under Maryland law, this can’t be admitted against you in a civil suit. In fact, even if you were found guilty after a trial, this still can’t be admitted against you in a civil suit. However, if you plead guilty to a traffic charge, this can be used against you in a civil suit. This means that as long as you don’t plead guilty to a traffic charge, the fact that you were ticketed won’t necessarily prevent you from making a personal injury claim.
If you have any questions about how a traffic court charge may affect your potential personal injury claim after a Maryland auto accident, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.