The Sun-Times ran an article today that hits a point that I am always making with clients I am representing in Chicago car accident suits: that you should go to traffic court for the hearing on the ticket that the other driver received. Many people I speak to on the phone tell me that they are pretty sure that since the other guy got the ticket, they are going to win their case. The truth is that it’s a good start, but is not the whole ball game.The law in Illinois is that the mere fact that someone got a traffic ticket following a car accident does not come into evidence in a later civil suit arising from the same car accident unless the person receiving the ticket pleads guilty to the charges. Unless that happens, the jury in the civil case does not get to hear that a ticket was issued, even if the other driver is convicted of the charges in traffic court.Showing up in traffic court does not guarantee that the other driver will plead guilty, but it greatly increases the odds that this will happen. If you do not go to traffic court, the ticket will probably be dismissed, and a jury in your personal injury case will never hear about it. If you are too hurt after a serious car accident to go to traffic court and have not yet hired an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, then you should send a friend or family member to court to tell the prosecutor assigned to that court room that you would like to come to court, but could not come because of your injuries. The prosecutor should be able to get the case continued for another date when you would be well enough to come to court.Teaching point: if you want to help yourself in your civil personal injury suit for a car accident, go to the traffic court hearing for the other guy’s traffic tickets.