Auto insurance exists to help people when they get into a car accident. At this time, your insurance company can pay for damages to the vehicles involved and help you receive coverage for injuries. But what if you receive a traffic citation in this event? For example, what if you bear guilt for speeding or running a light? Sometimes, these actions cause or contribute to an accident.
These traffic violations may not prevent you from filing an insurance claim. However, they could complicate your chances of receiving the claim.
If you’re wondering how this works, don’t worry! We’ll explore these conditions in the guide below. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Types of Traffic Violations that Could Affect Your Claim
A traffic citation does not immediately place you at fault for an accident. However, they often demonstrate that you played a part in the crash. Essentially, they prove that you weren’t an innocent bystander.
What traffic violations could affect your claim? Some of these include:
- Failure to yield
- Failure to come to a complete stop at a sign or light
- Distracted driving (checking your phone, messing with the radio, etc.)
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
These violations can easily contribute to an accident or crash. For example, let’s say you run a red light. When you do, you T-bone a car turning left.
In this instance, your action places you at fault. However, other infractions may not place you at fault.
For example, failing to display your license plate has nothing to do with a car accident. Infractions like these wouldn’t play a role when making an insurance claim.
Determining Fault in a Claim After Traffic Citation
State laws differ in how they handle blame in a car accident. Some states follow a policy of comparative negligence.
Others follow contributory negligence to determine fault. Your state’s laws play a significant role in deciding whether you can file a claim after receiving a traffic citation.
Comparative negligence may consider both drivers to bear fault in a car crash. For example, one vehicle may have forgotten to use its turn signal when making a turn. The other vehicle may have run a red light.
In such a case, the person who ran the red light would bear most of the blame. However, the driver who didn’t use their turn signal may also share 10% of the blame.
How does this affect their insurance claim? The driver who neglected their turn signal would see a 10% decrease in their total compensation. However, the driver with 90% blame could only receive 10% of their final claim.
Contributory negligence forbids a driver who contributed to a collision from receiving compensation. For example, let’s say you’re driving at the speed limit on a 55 mph road. Then, you go through a yellow light just as it turns red.
Across from you is a car going 90 mph and operated by a drunk driver. That driver blows through a stop sign and collides with you.
Obviously, most of the fault lies with the drunk driver who has violated numerous state and federal laws. However, the court may determine you to be 6% responsible for the accident for driving through the “red” light.
The contributory negligence system would bar you from recovering any funds from the other driver. If this system seems unfair to you, don’t worry. Most states agree, which is why only five states in the US use this system.
Other Evidence When Making an Insurance Claim
Let’s assume that your state operates on a comparative negligence system. If so, remember that your traffic citation is only one piece of evidence in your insurance claim. These citations, although relevant, don’t necessarily paint a complete picture of how the accident occurred.
Likewise, citations don’t prove fault in an accident. So, car accident attorneys can work with other pieces of evidence to determine who was liable for the accident.
First, they can work with eyewitness statements. Most wrecks occur on roads with significant traffic levels. So, a third party most likely saw your accident and can provide testimony as to what they saw.
Police officers often collect these eyewitness reports when they arrive at the scene. Your attorney can then work with those reports to demonstrate your innocence in the accident.
Video Surveillance and Footage
Another type of evidence is video surveillance. Several traffic lights and street lights contain surveillance cameras that monitor what happens on the road. Professionals can use these recordings to determine which driver bears the most fault.
Sometimes, bystanders also capture the wreck on their dashboard or cellphone cameras. Your attorney can consult these videos if the recorders grant them access. This way, they have additional evidence to make your case.
Finally, there’s environmental evidence. Factors on the road, such as skid marks or road signs, can demonstrate that a driver violated traffic laws. For example, deep skid marks often indicate that a driver was going too fast when they tried to brake.
Road signs can also provide evidence for somebody’s testimony. For example, let’s say you claim the other driver is at fault because they ran a stop sign. If there’s a stop sign on their side of the road, that lends belief to your case.
Don’t Let a Traffic Citation Stop You From Filing an Insurance Claim
A traffic citation is only one piece of evidence in your insurance claim. While it may demonstrate fault for you, several other factors could prove otherwise.
If you’re in doubt about your case, consult professionals! We at RHINO Lawyers have a passion for helping our clients receive the compensation they need.
Our success rates speak for themselves. Our work has helped us transform one-time clients into lasting relationships. So, contact us today if you need help with a traffic citation!
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.