Personal Injury Blog

How a Traffic Case Against the Defendant Affects Your Auto Accident Case

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?Traffic Case Personal Injury

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.