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Traffic Tickets in Car Accident Cases

A common question in car accident cases is: "Does the fact that the negligent driver got a ticket make any difference?" If the other driver got a ticket, it could be used to strengthen your case. If, on the other hand, the other driver did not get a ticket, he or she might use that to claim that he or she is not negligent. Whether you can use the fact that someone got a ticket depends on whether there was a conviction or plea.

Whether the police officer responding to an accident scene gave the other driver a ticket is not admissible in court. This means that you cannot use the fact that the other driver got a ticket to prove they were negligent in causing the accident. Missouri courts have long held that unless a police officer witnessed an accident, he or she cannot say who was at fault. Missouri courts reason that the rule prohibiting the use of the fact that the officer gave someone a ticket is the same as the rule prohibiting them from saying who was at fault.

However, if the other driver pleads guilty to the traffic ticket or is convicted of violating the law for which the ticket was issued, that fact is admissible. This is because the fact of the violation has been verified by the person receiving the ticket (by way of a plea), by a court, or jury (by way of a conviction), rather than a statement of the officer's belief of guilt.

If you have questions about traffic tickets in car accident cases, please feel free to contact us at any time. We specialize in car accident cases and can answer your questions! Contact us today.

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