The driving records of all parties involved in a car accident may be relevant to the victim’s claim for compensation. This information may help or hurt your claim, or it may be irrelevant and part of the liable insurance company’s attempts to deny or undervalue your claim.
Our knowledgeable auto collision lawyers in Sacramento are prepared to help you through the legal process after a car crash. We can determine if the at-fault driver’s driving record may strengthen your case. We also know how to deal with the insurance company’s attempts to use your driving record against you to deny or undervalue your claim, even though past accidents or traffic tickets may be irrelevant.
Below, we discuss how both your driving record and the negligent driver’s record may affect the outcome of your claim.
Whether a bad driving record helps or hurts your claim depends on whose record is filled with blemishes and how the accident occurred.
If you are the one with a dozen speeding tickets or other traffic violations, the insurance company is likely to use it against you. They may say this is evidence of a pattern of negligent driving behavior and helps show you are at least partially at fault for the crash. They may have a point if your speeding played a role in the crash.
However, if the other driver was speeding and this was the main cause of the accident, it may be much more difficult for insurers to use your old speeding tickets against you.
On the other hand, the at-fault driver’s record may paint him or her in a bad light if there is a history of reckless driving or multiple accidents for which he or she was found at fault. If your attorney can build a case against the other driver for negligent driving, evidence about this driver’s pattern of negligent driving may help to strengthen your case.
In a commercial truck crash case, evidence of the driving record of the truck driver could be very important to the case. If the company that hired the driver did not know about past accidents or traffic infractions it could bear liability for failing to conduct a thorough background check.
Proving a pattern of behavior could be very important in a jury trial. Sometimes this information could help to sway a jury one way or the other.
Considering the amount of traffic, especially around growing construction sites in California, it is rare for a driver to have never been involved in at least one accident in his or her lifetime. However, this may not impact your claim for compensation at all, particularly if you take steps to manage the situation.
First, it is important to disclose this information to your attorney as soon as possible. This way, your attorney may be prepared for arguments made by the insurance company if they manage to dig up information about old accidents.
You should also disclose information about preexisting injuries caused by old accidents. The insurance company may try to use this information to claim you did not suffer an injury in the latest crash. They may say you are seeking compensation for an existing injury.
Whether a non-moving violation on a driving record would affect a claim depends on the type of violation and how long before the accident it occurred.
Remember that non-moving violations may include minor infractions like parking tickets, but also more serious issues like a broken taillight.
Although an old parking ticket may not do much to sway an argument in favor of or against compensation, a ticket for a busted taillight may. Especially if that citation was issued shortly before an accident to a person who was rear-ended by another driver claiming broken brake lights as a defense.
Our attorneys are prepared to help you fight back when the insurance company tries to unfairly deny or undervalue your claim. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to take legal action. There are no fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation.