In a Wreck but No Ticket Was Issued? It’s Not As Big of a Deal As You Think
So you were just in a car accident and need some information? You’ve found the right place.
Statistically, every person in their life will experience a car accident. According to Forbes, if you received your license at the age of 16, you will more than likely be involved in an accident by the time you’re 34.
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already been in an accident and had to get help from Baton Rouge injury lawyers. You’re nowhere near alone. You’re due to do so once every 17.9 years or at least file a claim during that time.
You may have just gotten into a traffic accident and are confused because although the wreck occurred, no ticket was issued to either party.
What does this mean? Read on to find out why this isn’t something to worry about and when you need to call a lawyer.
Why Was No Ticket Issued to Either Party?
You were in a car accident, which means someone was clearly disobeying traffic laws. After all, traffic laws aren’t there for decoration, but to ensure that everyone on the road stays safe.
So why wasn’t anyone given a ticket, even if one person was clearly at fault?
Well, people only receive tickets upon accidents for a selection of reasons. You may receive a ticket, or the other party may receive one if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing. This means that the police actually saw one of you do something wrong.
Many times, you’ll call emergency services after the crash. Coming to the crash site, for the police officer, does not necessarily tell the whole story. Therefore, he or she may not issue a ticket on sight, especially if he or she only showed up after the crash has already occurred.
When Can Someone Get a Ticket During a Traffic Accident?
There are several reasons why someone might get a ticket due to a traffic accident.
As stated previously, the police officer will need to see hard evidence that one of you violated traffic laws. In some traffic accident cases, it is very clear that someone broke the law because of the way the accident happened. Therefore, one of you would receive a ticket.
For example, if the accident was a head-on collision, and occurred because someone was going the wrong way down a one-way road, they may issue a traffic ticket.
If someone rear-ended someone else, the person that rear-ended them could receive a ticket. This would be debatable, however, as if the person rear-ended them at a stoplight or in heavy traffic, this does not necessarily match correlation. If someone rear-ends someone on a freeway or highway, they could be cited for following too closely or for speeding and receive a ticket.
If there are obvious signs of speeding that caused the accident, the police officer may also issue a ticket. He or she can typically determine this with tire marks, the extent of the damage on the cars and by eye-witness accounts.
You or the other party can also get a ticket if one of you is either inebriated with alcohol or another drug. This could also result in a DUI, or a Driving Under the Influence, violation. You can also get a ticket if the police ask for a drug or alcohol blow test and you refuse to do so at the scene.
Similarly, you can also receive a ticket for unrelated offenses, such as having an open alcoholic beverage in the vehicle, having a light out, or not having a child properly secured according to Louisiana car seat laws.
If none of these things occurs, the police officer may not issue any party a ticket and it may not be easy for the officer to determine which traffic laws were violated.
Does the Lack of a Ticket Mean It Will Be Difficult To Prove Who Is at Fault?
Once you have a car accident, you’ll need to figure out who is at fault so the insurance companies can reach a settlement. Typically, the driver who is at fault’s insurance company will pay for the damages caused to the other driver’s car. Sometimes, it is not clear who is at fault simply from emergency services showing up at the scene.
Just because no one received a traffic ticket does not mean the insurance company will not try and determine who is at fault. The issue is not who violated traffic laws, but who was driving in a way that was dangerous or negligent.
A ticket in itself is not enough to show that either party is at fault, so having the ticket alone would not prove that you were the one who caused the accident.
Instead, several parties will discuss who was at fault by trying to piece together what happened. They will look at medical documents if any party was in the hospital following the accident, review the police report and interview any witnesses. From this, the insurance company should make a determination as to who is at fault.
What Should I Do If an Accident Was Not My Fault?
If the accident was not your fault, regardless of if there was a ticket issued to you, you should always stop your car and try to clear the road if possible. In Louisiana, if you get into an accident and do not stop, you can face possible fines or jail time for leaving the scene of the accident.
For those confident that you were not at fault, you should speak to the police about what happened and give a witness statement. You should also take as many photos of the scene of the accident as possible. You can send these to your insurance company to help determine who was at fault in the accident.
It is also recommended that you make a sketch of the accident and what happened to help the insurance company figure out how things occurred. This can aid in determining who was at fault, and whose insurance company will have to pay out to the victim.
If you were at fault for the accident, your insurance premiums may rise after the accident. This is especially true if the accident was serious.
The Other Party and I Cannot Agree Who Was At Fault, Should I Call a Lawyer?
Lawyers typically step in in traffic accident scenarios after an injury or fatality due to the accident. This will most likely happen if no one knows who is at fault for the accident or the parties cannot agree on who is liable.
Often times, with a death or severe injury, the suffering party will contact a personal injury lawyer who can help with a lawsuit against the other party personally or their insurance company. It will be the lawyer and your responsibility to prove that the other party was the one who was at fault and that they owe you a settlement.
If No One Got a Ticket, How Can We Go to Court Over a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Even if there is no ticket issued, you can still prove the other party was at fault due to negligence in a court of law. Charges and tickets are not admissible in these types of lawsuits, so the fact that the other party was cited does not make your case any more credible. Conversely, if you received a ticket, you can still take the other party to court and prove that they were at fault for being negligent.
The court will decide who is at fault through a series of events. These will include listening to the plaintiff’s argument, testimony from police officers or emergency workers who arrived at the scene, testimony from witnesses and those who specialize in analyzing traffic accident.
The judge or jury will then decide who is at fault and whether the plaintiff deserves a settlement from the other party, or their insurance company, for a wrongful injury or death.
If No One Received a Ticket, Will the Accident’s Data Be Accessible to the Public?
In the state of Louisiana, there is a Highway Safety Research Group database. With this database, you can discover information about previous accidents around the city and county, and find out how safe the roads are. Roads that have more traffic accidents on them are determined to be less safe for drivers.
Even if no one received a ticket, this report will still go up on the database. The police officer who arrives at the scene is obliged to enter the information. They do not place personally identifying information on the site, so users cannot see if someone received a ticket or not.
Summing It All Up
You should seek the services of a personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one experienced a car accident injury in the traffic accident. You can also seek the services of an attorney if someone in your family died as a result of the accident. As mentioned previously, neither party needs to receive a ticket for a trial to go ahead. Instead, the lawyer can work out how to defend you in court to get the settlement you deserve, even with no ticket.
Read our blog for more on all things personal injury related and when to seek guidance from a lawyer.
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