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Why a traffic ticket can influence your personal injury case

Our last few posts have focused on the potential for accidents in shopping mall parking lots and due to treacherous road conditions. With the weather getting (surprisingly) better this week compared to early November, chances are that drivers will have an added sense of security knowing that roads may not be snowy or icy this week.

This may lead to people driving faster than usual and taking chances that they usually would not take in inclement weather. In some instances, these driving choices may lead to a traffic ticket in addition to an accident. In those instances where a driver is cited after an accident, a criminal matter must be resolved. This may play a huge part in how a potential personal injury or property damage suit is handled. 

Essentially, a criminal conviction (or at least a guilty plea) could be viewed as prima facie (i.e. first glance) evidence of negligence by the driver charged. The burden of proof in a criminal action is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” basically meaning that there is no other logical reason for believing that a crime has not been committed. This is a very high standard to meet.

Meanwhile, the civil standard of proof is “a preponderance of the evidence,” which basically means that more likely than not, a person can be found negligent. This is an important distinction because if someone is held criminally liable for a traffic violation, he or she is much more likely to be held civilly liable because of the lower standard used in civil cases.

So if you have been involved in a crash where a traffic citation is issued, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.  

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La Crosse, WI 54601

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