A Salem woman is recovering from injuries sustained in a rear-end car accident in Sandoval. The accident victim was stopped at a stop sign when she was hit from behind. The other driver was ticketed and charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.Many people who contact our office about a possible Illinois car accident suit believe that since the other driver got the ticket, that means that the other driver is automatically at fault for the accident. That is not quite right.First, the fact that someone got a ticket is considered to be only some evidence of negligence, or fault, for the accident. It is compelling evidence, and to be sure, that is the case ever ended up in front of a judge and jury, the jury would likely give great weight to the issue of who got the ticket, but that does not dispose of the issue.Second, the fact that someone got a ticket for a car accident does not come into evidence unless the person who received the ticket pleaded guilty to the charges in traffic court. This is true even if there is a full hearing in traffic court and the party receiving the ticket is found guilty of the charges. The theory is that the guilty plea is an admission to the charges contained in the ticket.As an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer, the advice I give to clients who have been in a car accident where traffic tickets were issued is this:
- If the other driver got the ticket, you should be careful to go to traffic court. If you do not go, the chances of the ticket being dismissed are much higher. If you go, there is a reasonable chance that the other driver will plead guilty, which will make the ticket admissible in evidence in a later civil suit for injuries from the car accident.
- If you were ticketed, you should go to traffic court and plead not guilty to the charges in the ticket. This will insure that the ticket will not be used against you in a later civil trial. I also recommend that they do not testify at the criminal trial, as that testimony will be recorded by a court reporter, and that testimony could be used against you like any other form of sworn testimony.