If you’ve been injured by another motorist’s negligence, you are likely confused about how best to proceed, and you may be at your most vulnerable. After all, you’ve suffered painful physical injuries, are facing cascading related medical expenses, may experience lost earnings, and may also experience serious emotional consequences in response to the violent accident. It’s a lot to handle on your own, and if there is also a traffic ticket involved, you’re likely in a dither about how traffic tickets affect claims. If this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, you are not alone. The most important considerations to keep in mind, however, include obtaining the medical care you need and seeking the legal guidance of an experienced Austin car accident lawyer – as soon after the accident as possible.
What’s in This Guide
If You Received a Traffic Ticket
Traffic tickets can sometimes have an impact on the assignment of liability in a car accident case. If you received a citation for the accident that leaves you injured, you may think all hope is lost in relation to seeking compensation for the losses – or legal damages – you’ve suffered as a result of the other driver’s negligence (through that at-fault driver’s insurance provider), but this is not necessarily the case. Receiving a traffic ticket is not the same as being guilty of the citation therein. In fact, you may not be guilty of the charge that’s been levied against you by the ticket. When you pay a traffic ticket, however, you accept guilt in the matter. If, on the other hand, you choose to go to court, you can fight the charge and your associated guilt. Working closely with a skilled car accident attorney can help you make the right choices for yourself throughout the legal process – even if you’re on the receiving end of a traffic ticket.
Texas Is Not a No-Fault State
Some states are what are known as no-fault insurance states, which means that car accident claims proceed through the car insurance coverage of the person who has been injured – regardless of who is at fault. Texas – and other states like it – are often called fault or tort-based states, and if you are injured by another driver’s negligence in Texas, you’ll file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.
Sharing Fault Does Not Bar You from Compensation
If you are slapped with a citation at the scene of the car accident, it’s only natural to be upset, but you should not read it as absolute proof that you cannot seek compensation from the other driver. In Texas, as long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident that leaves you injured, you can seek compensation from the other driver (as long as he or she is at least 50 percent responsible). This means that even if you receive a ticket for speeding – for example – you won’t be barred from seeking the percentage of compensation for which the other driver is responsible. If you share responsibility evenly, you can seek compensation for half your damages from the other driver. It’s also important to address the fact that you may not be guilty of the charge levied against you by the ticket. When you pay a traffic ticket, you accept guilt in the matter, but if you choose instead to go to court, you can fight the charge and your associated guilt.
Let’s say that you were speeding and, as a result, have been deemed 20 percent responsible for the accident that caused you to be injured. While you may have received a ticket for exceeding the speed limit, you can still seek compensation for 80 percent of your total losses from the other driver’s insurance provider.
If the Other Driver Was Ticketed
If the other driver was ticketed and you were not, it can help to bolster your claim by helping to prove his or her fault in the matter. However, it’s important to point out that this is only true if the driver pays the ticket (and thereby accepts guilt in the matter). If the driver fights the ticket and prevails, it won’t be allowed as evidence in your claim. If the other driver goes to court to fight the charge and the court ultimately finds him or her guilty – thus requiring that the ticket be paid – the ticket remains inadmissible in your car accident case.
If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence – even if you share fault in the matter – the losses you face can be so significant that seeking the percentage that the other driver is responsible for can play a pivotal role in your ability to regain your health and well-being to the best of your ability. Consider the following categories of loss that commonly apply:
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Medical expenses that can begin with emergency transportation and extend to surgery, hospital stays, pain management, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and much more
- Lost income related to hours lost on the job, which can include an overall decrease in your earning potential
- Physical and psychological pain and suffering
Ensuring that your damages – in their entirety – are well represented in your car accident claim is essential.
An Experienced Austin Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Better Understand How Traffic Tickets Affect Claims
If you’ve been hit with a traffic ticket, you may think it bars you from seeking compensation from the other driver, and if the other driver receives a ticket, you may think it is proof positive that he or she is at fault, but neither of these is necessarily true. The knowledgeable car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm in Austin recognize how difficult your situation is and are committed to harnessing the full power of their impressive experience in pursuit of your claim’s most beneficial conclusion. We’re standing by to help, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 361-400-2036 for more information today.