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If you’ve recently been involved in a crash in Louisiana, you may be faced with a ticket or citation. While it may seem like the right thing to do, paying a ticket right away after a car accident can have serious consequences for your personal injury claim.

Whether you’re a seasoned driver or just got your license, it’s essential to understand the legal implications of paying a ticket and how it can affect your ability to receive compensation for your injuries and damages.

After a crash in which you were injured, speak with the Baton Rouge auto accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier. We can guide you through your legal options to protect your right to compensation for your injuries.

Fight the Ticket if You Plan to File an Injury Claim

After a car accident, police are usually called to the scene to create a report noting facts about the incident, which can later be used as evidence if a driver is criminally charged or sued for civil damages in a personal injury claim. While making their report, the officer may issue a ticket to one or more of the drivers involved if they find evidence of traffic violations, such as speeding, driving recklessly, following too closely, failing to yield, or running a red light.

Unfortunately, even if you are the victim in the crash, the officer may write you a ticket based on their observations at the scene. While paying your ticket by the deadline is the standard action to take, you should consider speaking to a criminal attorney specializing in traffic violations about fighting the ticket before the deadline comes due.  

This is especially important if you also plan to file civil charges against the other driver, like with a personal injury lawsuit.

Why It Matters

Paying a ticket after a car accident can be seen as an admission of guilt. The negligent driver’s insurance company may try to use the fact that you paid the ticket right away without trying to fight or dispute the charges as evidence that you were at fault for the accident. This can lower your potential settlement in an injury claim. 

For example, consider a collision in which Driver A was driving 10 miles over the speed limit when they hit Driver B at an intersection, but the Driver B was driving distracted and thus didn’t notice Driver A before the collision.

Both drivers receive a ticket, but Driver A pays immediately while Driver B contests theirs. When Driver A tries to file a claim against Driver B for their injuries, Driver B’s insurance company may reject the claim because Driver A admitted to speeding, but Driver B never admitted to any fault.

If you can show the other driver was at fault in your crash or reduce the amount of fault for the crash you are assigned, you may still be able to get compensation.

What To Do Instead

A ticket for a criminal traffic violation from an accident creates a paper trail that can help build your civil injury claim by establishing what caused your injuries, as well as where and when they happened.

However, rather than pay your ticket immediately following your accident, instead:

Dispute the Ticket with the Help of a Criminal Traffic Court Attorney

By admitting fault for the crash, you may be unable to prove the other driver was at fault for your injuries, which can significantly reduce your chances of receiving compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages in an injury claim. It can even make it easier for the other driver to file a claim against you if they were also injured.

If you’ve been issued a ticket after a car crash and believe it is unjustified, you have the right to dispute it. You’ll need to attend a court hearing where you’ll have the opportunity to present evidence that refutes the facts claimed in the ticket, the police officer’s personal opinion, or the circumstances under which the ticket was issued.

While you can represent yourself in traffic court, we recommend hiring a criminal attorney specializing in traffic violations. Although our firm does not handle criminal cases, evidence shows that hiring a lawyer can make a big difference in both criminal and civil case outcomes.

Hire a Civil Injury Attorney Specializing in Auto Accidents

While a civil litigation attorney is unlikely to contest your ticket in traffic court, they will still need to prove who was at fault in your auto wreck.

Your attorney can help prove the other driver was at fault for your injuries by accessing police reports and CCTV footage, reviewing witness statements, photos and dashcam or traffic camera videos, and even reconstructing the accident scene. They can also use outcomes of related criminal cases, like if you successfully contested a ticket resulting from the same crash.

Your attorney can utilize Louisiana’s comparative fault law to your best interest. This enables you to file a claim even if you are found partially at fault for the accident or were written a ticket. The amount of financial compensation you’ll receive for damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

At Dudley DeBosier, our team of experienced auto accident attorneys is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injury victims. We’re here for you if you’ve been injured in a car crash and need help navigating the legal process for getting compensation.

Our attorneys have a proven track record of success in obtaining fair results for our injured clients, and we’re ready to put our expertise to work for you. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact our attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We’re ready to listen to your story and provide the guidance you need to make sound legal decisions for your case.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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