Personal Injury Attorney Advice If You Receive A Traffic Citation At The Scene Of The Accident

In many personal injury accident situations, the California Highway Patrol or a local California police or sheriff’s department will respond to the accident scene. If there is significant vehicular damage or obvious personal injuries, the officers will conduct an investigation, take witness and drivers’ statements, measurements, draw a diagram of the accident scene, write a report and occasionally issue traffic citations.

Most California law enforcement personnel have some personal injury accident investigation training, but mistakes in interpreting any personal injury accident scene can still happen. Innocent accident victims can and do erroneously receive traffic citations for causing or contributing to the injury accident when in fact the personal injury victim was not legally or factually responsible for that accident. Even if the accident victim bears some degree of blame, law enforcement may incorrectly apportion fault between all of the participants in the personal injury accident.

If you have been injured in a vehicular accident and received a citation, it is essential that you discuss the citation with your personal injury attorney. The worst mistake a personal injury victim can make is to appear in traffic court without the advice or assistance of counsel; if the judge finds the accident victim guilty of any infraction other than a license or insurance violation, the judge’s decision may result in the “death” of any personal injury accident claim regardless of the severity of the personal injuries sustained by the accident victim.

The injured accident victim must always look at the “bigger picture” and decide whether in the final analysis points on a DMV driving record are more important than receiving appropriate financial compensation for personal injuries, loss of wages, vehicle repair damages and other out of pocket expenses caused by the accident. Unless the accident victim has unbiased and extremely favorable independent witnesses on his or her side, most personal injury attorneys would advise the injured accident client to plead “No Contest” to at least one count on the traffic citation if the city attorney refuses to dismiss the citation. While technically not admitting guilt or fault, a no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea by the courts and by the DMV in calculating points on driving records. However, there is one significant difference. A no contest plea cannot be used in any subsequent personal injury proceeding to establish that the injured accident victim was at fault or contributed to the personal injury accident. When thousands of dollars or more in compensatory damages are at stake in a personal injury case, risking everything to avoid a traffic ticket conviction is not usually a good option.

Personal injury clients should always remember that judges tend to believe law enforcement testimony over that of private citizens. While accepting a no contest plea may be a difficult decision under some circumstances, it is often the best and only sensible choice for an injured client who is seeking justice and compensation in a personal injury claim. Brought to you by Your California Personal Injury Lawyer please visit the website for more information about personal injury and accident victims.
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