Many people assume that the time and effort required to fight a traffic ticket is simply not worth it. However, if you received a traffic ticket or other citation as a result of your involvement in a vehicle accident, the stakes may be higher than you realize. If you were injured, a traffic ticket could reduce or even wholly preclude your monetary recovery. On the other hand, if you are the party being sued, such a citation can significantly complicate your defense.
Determining liability in most traffic accidents requires attorneys — and ultimately juries — to evaluate whether the involved parties were acting reasonably under the circumstances at the time of the accident and whether the unreasonable acts of either party were the legal cause of the accident. When a person is cited for violating traffic laws, however, that violation may be considered to be negligence per se provided it is a legal cause of the accident. This means that a traffic citation can have several ramifications for you as the plaintiff in an auto accident lawsuit:
If another driver was partially at fault, you may still recover, but your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault.
If it appears your traffic violation was the sole cause of your accident, it may preclude you from recovery.
If other drivers or passengers were injured in the accident, you may be partially liable for their injuries even if you yourself were injured.
While most people do not think of it this way, simply paying your traffic ticket is tantamount to pleading guilty to the offense. Therefore, if you were injured in a traffic accident in which you also received a citation or ticket, your California personal injury attorney may strongly suggest fighting the ticket if reasonable grounds exist to do so.