Ticketed Because of Collision
The first person to investigate the scene of a wreck, incident, accident or collision is the police. The investigating police officer will talk to everyone involved and try to recreate how the accident occurred. He or she will obtain any video footage of the collision, if any, and examine the roadway for skid marks and any other evidence to assist in their investigation. Ultimately, the officer will try and make a determination on how the accident actually occurred and then issue any traffic tickets to those parties that are at fault.
Proof of a Ticket/Citation
Knowing who received a citation gives a good idea on who is at fault for the car or truck wreck. However, the mere proof of who received the ticket does not mean that the person is unequivocally at fault. A citation is the police officers determination on who and what caused the wreck. A ticketed person is free to challenge the citation at court. The traffic ticket case is a case between the State of Georgia and the person cited for breaking the law. What happens during that criminal proceeding can be used in your civil case for your injuries.
How to Use the Ticket to Prove your Injury Case
An injury claim involves three essential elements – a) the other person is at fault, b) the other person’s fault caused your injuries, and c) you incurred damages. The use of a ticket will help establish element A – the other person is at fault. In Georgia, you are not allowed to introduce evidence that the other person was ticketed to show fault. However, you can use how the ticket was disposed at criminal court to show fault.
The easiest situation is when the other person plead guilty to the ticket. This is evidence that the other person is admitting that they were: following too closely, speeding, recklessly driving, made an improper turn, failed to yield, failed to stop at a red light, etc. This is called an admission against a party opponent and can be introduced as evidence in your injury case.
A second method is to show that the person forfeited their bond regarding the citation they received. A forfeited bond means that the person failed to show up to criminal court and challenge the charges. Similarly, a bond forfeiture is an admission of guilt and can be used in court to show that the other person is at fault.
Sometimes, the criminal court may tape the testimony of the parties involved in the collision. During the criminal trial, a person may say something that shows that they are at fault. This testimony can now be used in your civil injury case as a prior statement made by the party.
Alternatively, you may call the police officer to testify in your injury case. The officer will most likely testify to what he knows and what he put in the police report. He or she will also testify to what people said to them, as well as what evidence they obtained. Finally, the police officer can give an opinion on what he or she believes was the caused of the car or truck accident, which is evidence of who is at fault.