Is paying a traffic ticket important? It could be. When it comes to Florida car crash claims, the issue of liability and fault comes up only in the more severe accidents. This is because Florida is a no-fault state.
This means that in the event of minor accidents with non-serious injuries, your first recourse is to seek compensation from your own insurer. However, when the injuries exceed a certain threshold, a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can help you recover damages from the at-fault driver.
Many factors can impact the strength of your claim for damages. These include any traffic tickets or citations you may have received at the time of the accident. Depending on the reason for a ticket, it may or may not impact your claim.
Why Does a Traffic Ticket Matter?
If you receive a traffic ticket, this is an indication that you may have committed a traffic violation. This is important as it can impact the amount of damages you ultimately receive. Florida has a pure comparative negligence rule as defined in Florida Statutes Section 768.81.
This rule says that you can seek damages proportionate to the degree of fault of the other driver. For instance, if the other driver was 60% at fault and you were 40% at fault, you will be awarded 60% of the damages.
Traffic tickets are one of the things that an insurance company can use to exaggerate your degree of fault in the eyes of a court. As the ticket means a traffic violation has occurred, the insurer may argue that this violation was the primary cause or one of the key contributing factors in causing the crash. However, this is not always the case.
When a Traffic Ticket Impacts Your Claim
A traffic ticket may have a direct bearing on your claim if it was issued for a violation that directly contributed to the crash. For example, if you were speeding through an intersection and caused the crash, and the ticket was issued for speeding, it can be used against your claim for damages. Similarly, other violations which may result in traffic tickets and also adversely impact your claim include:
- Illegal lane change
- Tailgating another vehicle
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Distracted driving
- Failure to stop at a red light or a stop sign
These are all the kinds of traffic violations that may directly contribute to an accident. However, even if you get a traffic ticket for these, you may still be entitled to damages. In such a scenario, your degree of fault will be compared with that of the other driver.
Taking the example above, if you were speeding through an intersection with a green light, and a second car also sped through the intersection with a red light, your degree of fault will be smaller in comparison. In such a situation, you will still receive damages although they will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
When a Traffic Ticket Doesn’t Impact Your Claim
There are many situations where a traffic ticket may not impact your crash claim. This is typically the case when the ticket is issued for a violation that is unrelated to the crash itself.
Consider this scenario: you get a traffic ticket for a broken taillight. However, the accident itself involves a head-on collision with a second vehicle. In this scenario, the broken taillight has not contributed to the head-on collision, so the ticket itself is not enough to prove your fault.
Similarly, you may be issued a citation for not wearing a seatbelt. This may have made your injuries more severe in an accident, but not wearing a seatbelt couldn’t have contributed to the crash itself. Other violations for which you may receive a ticket without an impact on your crash claim include:
- Improperly displayed or missing license plate number
- Lack of adequate proof of insurance
Tickets about missing headlights, taillights, side mirrors, rearview mirrors, or indicators may or may not have an impact on your claim depending on the nature of the crash itself. A car crash lawyer can best guide you on when a traffic ticket has a bearing on your car accident claim.
Why Hire a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have suffered a crash with losses in Fort Lauderdale and also received a traffic ticket or citation at the same time, you need the help of a good lawyer. Our qualified Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can help you counter the attempts of an insurance company to use the ticket or citation against you.
We also work with you to show that the other driver was mostly at fault, ensuring that you get maximum compensation for your losses.
Get in touch today to discuss your Fort Lauderdale car accident claim with our lawyers.