Did you get a traffic ticket after an auto collision in Smyrna? Then you need to visit a car accident lawyer in Smyrna, Georgia, as soon as possible. While motor vehicle crash claims are generally complex, a traffic citation may add another dimension to your case. You may want to hire a legal expert to ensure you’re not making mistakes that will affect your compensation claim.
Many believe that getting a traffic ticket automatically proves your guilt and liability in a car crash claim. This thinking arises from the fact that police officers may only issue tickets to reckless motorists.
However, that’s not always the case, as the outcome of a car accident compensation claim depends on numerous other factors. For example, in Georgia, a traffic citation is merely an accusation and doesn’t automatically translate to guilt.
So, how will a traffic ticket affect your auto collision case in Smyrna, Georgia? Is it admissible in court? Can you still claim damages when law enforcement issues you a traffic citation? What steps should you take immediately after receiving a traffic ticket?
This article will answer all your questions and more.
What Impact Does a Police Officer’s Traffic Citation Have on My Compensation Claim?
When police officers arrive at the scene of a car crash, they try to investigate the cause of the collision. They question the drivers, examine the accident site, and speak with available witnesses.
Following their investigation, they will write an accident report summarizing the crash’s important details. Sometimes, based on what they witnessed, they’ll determine who violated a traffic law and issue a ticket to the offender.
Many insurance companies honor these traffic citations as evidence of the ticketed driver’s negligence. They’ll usually use the tickets to identify the responsible party. Let’s say, for instance, that drunk driving was the main factor in an accident. This suggests that one of the motorists was careless. Law enforcement will give a ticket to the drunk drivers, placing them as the liable parties in the collision.
The victim might, however, receive a ticket and still make a claim for compensation based on Georgia’s comparative negligence law. According to the rule, drivers can split liability for an accident based on their degree of fault.
So, imagine that John was inattentive, but Paul changed lanes without signaling and crashed into John. Even if Paul caused the collision, John would still receive a citation. In such a situation, John may receive 90% of the full compensation if his distracted driving amounted to 10% liability.
Will Georgia Courts Admit a Traffic Citation as Evidence in My Case?
As mentioned, law enforcement officers draw their opinion about an accident from eyewitnesses. Since they didn’t witness the crash first-hand, the rules of evidence prevent them from giving their opinion in court. The traffic ticket they issue is also not admissible in evidence. They may only be allowed to give testimony based on their investigations.
For example, the law allows a police officer to testify about witness statements, evidence found at the crime scene, etc. However, any opinion about who caused the crash will be inadmissible as they didn’t see it happen.
Nevertheless, there are situations where law enforcement witnessed the accident. Although rare, the police officers present will become eyewitnesses and can give testimony about who caused the collision in court.
However, when it comes to the final verdict, the judges and jury have the ultimate and exclusive power to decide who is at fault. Generally, they will not base their decision on the traffic ticket. At best, it will only serve as supporting proof to other pieces of strong evidence.
It is, however, important to note that a traffic citation will be admissible in evidence if you admit guilt. This can be by pleading guilty in traffic court or paying the required fine. As such, you should not admit guilt or pay any fine without first speaking to your car accident lawyer in Symrna, Georgia.
Also, remember that failure to appear in traffic court carries steep punishments if you receive a ticket. The court may only excuse your failure to attend court if you have already mailed your fine. Otherwise, the judge may issue you a bench warrant and order that your license is suspended.
What if the At-Fault Ticketed Driver Tries to Blame You for the Crash?
The at-fault driver who got a traffic ticket (and their insurance company) may try to pin the accident on you. While this can be challenging, you can easily overcome this problem by finding out the status of the traffic citation. In other words, you should ascertain what happened after they received the ticket.
Did they appear in traffic court or mail in their fine? As we already established, if they paid a fine, it counts as an admission of guilt. So you can leverage this fact to prove they are responsible for the crash.
How Can My Car Accident Lawyer in Symrna, Georgia, Help My Case?
An auto crash attorney is integral to your auto crash claim, especially when you have a traffic citation. Here’s what an experienced car accident lawyer Symrna, Georgia, will do for you:
- Investigate Your Case
Unlike many insurance companies, your injury attorney in Symrna wouldn’t take a traffic citation for granted. Instead, they’ll conduct independent investigations to discover more facts that may prove helpful in your case.
- Negotiate Settlement
Being cited for a traffic violation can put you in a disadvantaged position at the negotiating table. Fortunately, a traffic ticket wouldn’t deter your car accident lawyer. They’re aware of your rights and the value of your case. So they’ll not relent until you get every dime you deserve.
- Offer Legal Advice
Auto collision cases, especially the ones involving traffic citations, are too complex for non-lawyers to handle. As such, it’s easy to make terrible mistakes that can reduce your chances of maximum compensation. Fortunately, auto crash attorneys will give you the best advice to ensure you don’t make such errors.
- Represent Your Interest in Court
Car accident lawyers in Symrna, Georgia, are always there to represent you in your civil case. They’ll ensure that the judge’s decision is in your favor.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Smyrna, Georgia, ASAP!
Did you receive a traffic citation in a Smyrna motor vehicle collision? Not to worry, you can still get compensation for your injuries. All you need to do is ensure that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your case.
Are you looking for the best Georgia personal injury attorney to handle your case? Then reach out to our aggressive lawyers at Jamie Ballard Law. We’re always here to ensure that you get justice and offer free case reviews.