How Can My Traffic Ticket Affect My Auto Accident Claim?

In Florida, liability and fault issues typically only arise in the case of more severe accidents. Why is this? Florida is a no-fault state. So, in the event of a minor accident that didn't result in injuries, your first course of action is to seek compensation from your own insurance company.

However, if the damages sustained during the accident go above and beyond a certain threshold, then you may need a Florida personal injury attorney to help you recover damages from the driver who was at fault.

Does a Traffic Ticket Make a Difference?

If you receive a traffic ticket following the accident, then this is a great indication that you committed a traffic violation leading up to the accident. If this is the case, a traffic ticket can greatly impact the amount in damages you ultimately receive after filing your auto accident claim.

Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule that says you can seek damages that are proportionate to the degree of fault of the other driver. So, if the other driver was 60% at fault and it was determined that you were 40% at fault, you will be awarded 60% of the damages.

An insurance company will use the traffic ticket as a way to exaggerate your amount of fault in court. The insurance company may argue that the traffic violation you committed was the primary cause of the accident or one of the key contributing factors of the accident. In this case, your percentage of fault may go up.

When the Ticket Can Affect Your Claim

If you were issued a ticket for violating a traffic law that directly contributed to the accident, it could greatly impact your claim. For example, an illegal lane change, tailgating, failure to yield the right-of-way, distracted driving, and the failure to stop at a red light or stop sign are all violations that can impact your claim.

These traffic violations are all examples of violations that could contribute to the accident. Even so, you may still be entitled to damages. However, your degree of fault will be much higher and will be compared to the percentage of fault for the other driver.

When the Ticket Won't Impact Your Claim

It may also be true that there are some cases when the ticket won't affect your claim at all. This is usually when you are issued a citation not related to the accident. For example, a ticket for a broken taillight when you were involved in a head-on collision.

In a case like this, your broken taillight didn't contribute to the accident because it wasn't an accident in which you were hit from behind when the taillights might have otherwise mattered.
Other instances a traffic ticket may not affect your claim include when you have a missing license plate number or improperly placed license plate, or the lack of adequate proof of insurance.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Hiring a personal injury attorney following an auto accident in Florida is always advisable, especially if you received a traffic violation.

A qualified personal injury attorney can help you counter any steps the insurance company may be taking to use the ticket against you. They will also work with you to help prove the other driver's fault, making sure you receive the best compensation for your damages.