Many people who receive a traffic citation believe it is not worth fighting, and simply drop a check in the mail and go on with their lives. But what if you were injured in that traffic accident? Not only have you incurred points on your driving record by simply paying the ticket, you may not know how you will be compensated for your injuries, as well as for the damages to your vehicle. Perhaps first of all, you need an attorney from The Law Place who can determine if you were properly cited. If you were not, our attorneys will aggressively fight your traffic citation, as it has considerable bearing on the overall outcome of your claim for damages.
What if You Were Injured in Your At-Fault Accident?
Some people mistakenly believe if they are injured in a car accident which is their fault, they are not entitled to compensation. There are many variables in this scenario. First, maybe you were not as at-fault as the police report claims. Or, possibly the other driver was also partially at fault. Since Florida is a no-fault state, your own auto insurance will cover your damages up to a certain amount, regardless of whether you were at fault. Further, even if you were at fault for the accident, this does not preclude you filing a claim for compensation for your injuries.
In the majority of traffic accidents, the insurance company of the injured person will provide coverage for lost income and medical expenses, no matter whose fault the accident was. One driver cannot hold the other driver liable following a Florida car accident unless the serious injury threshold has been met. This means the at-fault driver must have caused permanent injury, disfigurement, or significant and permanent scarring in order for a liability claim to be filed. Once a claim for damages is filed, Florida’s comparative fault rules kick in.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault rule, the jury will decide the total amount of damages due to the injured person, then they will reduce that amount by the percentage of fault the injured person contributed. As you can see, the determination of fault is extremely important in the eventual payment for your injuries. Even if a police officer said you were at fault, there may be ways your attorney can have that report changed, after proving you were not at fault, or you were only partially at fault.
A police officer must go by what he or she observes and is told, but in some cases those observations could have been flawed, and the other party in the accident may have told the officer some things which were not true in order to avoid responsibility. Determining fault will be the first important task of your attorney, then using that determination to help you receive just compensation for your injuries will be the second important task.
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Never Admit Fault
Because determination of fault can have such a dramatic impact on your ability to receive compensation for your injuries, you should never, ever admit fault following an accident. Even if you actually believe the accident was your fault, consider that you may not have all the information needed to make that assessment. A traffic accident is very chaotic, and you may not have all the facts. Under the heading of never admitting fault, don’t talk to anyone about how the accident happened, don’t say “I’m sorry,” to the other driver as this implies fault, don’t ask any questions of the other driver, and don’t answer questions from the other driver—in fact, avoid discussing who might have been at fault completely. It is a much better idea simply exchange contact information, then later write down as many details related to the accident as possible to help your attorney build a solid case
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CDL Drivers and Traffic Citations
There are somewhat different rules for those who have a commercial driver’s license. Those with a CDL who receive a traffic citation are required to inform their employer if they receive a conviction for the traffic citation. The CDL driver must also inform the Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles if convicted of a traffic violation in another state. Lastly, the CDL driver is not eligible to complete a driver improvement course as a means of avoiding points on his or her driver’s license. If you were injured while driving a company vehicle or a truck which belongs to the trucking company you work for, your injuries may be compensable through your employer, even if you were cited. It is particularly important in this instance to allow an attorney from The Law Place to fight your citation, since your CDL license is crucial to your ability to work and make a living.
Fighting Your Traffic Citation
Should you decide to plead not guilty to your traffic citation, it is important to understand that the Florida county court can then waive your right to have the ticket dismissed, the charges reduced, or could waive your right to attend a driver education course. Should you fail to respond to your ticket within the allotted amount of time, you could receive a Florida D-6 driver’s license suspension, which means your driver’s license is suspended until you have taken care of the traffic ticket, paid the reinstatement fee, and shown necessary proof of all those things in court.
Pleading not guilty to your traffic citation means you must go before a judge and plead your case. This can be a very anxiety-inducing experience for most people. After all, you are likely uncertain of the exact procedure, are unsure of the law, and are afraid you may not say what needs to be said in order for the judge to find you not guilty. A much better option is to hire a Florida attorney who will not only fight your traffic citation, but will work hard to ensure you receive compensation you’re your injuries, lost wages, and damages to your vehicle. Further, you won’t have to worry about appearing before a judge on your own.
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Considering All Your Options
Obviously, defending yourself in court will not cost you any money for an attorney—but it could cost you plenty should your inexperience lose the case. Not only have you lost your traffic citation case, that loss may now make it much more difficult for you to obtain compensation for your injuries and other damages. Not only do you have to consider the time it will take you to prepare for court—reading up on the applicable laws, building a case on your behalf, perhaps taking photographs of the area where you were ticketed, and even speaking to witnesses—you now have to try and figure out how you will pay for the injuries you sustained in the accident, since the court has judged you the guilty party.
How a Florida Traffic Citation Attorney Can Help
In order to obtain the best outcome possible on your traffic citation, then get the financial compensation you need for your injuries and other damages, the best decision you can make is to call an attorney at The Law Place. With more than 75 years of combined experience, The Law Place attorneys will choose negotiation or litigation, based on the best strategy for you and your situation. Our attorneys have the necessary skills and knowledge to work hard to ensure the best outcome for your situation. When possible, we will have your traffic offense reduced to the lowest level, or dismissed altogether, saving you money, reducing the points on your driving record, and allowing you to receive the compensation you deserve. Call The Law Place today at 941-444-4444. “We are here for you.”