A common query at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary is "What happens in a car accident when no ticket is issued to either party?" It is a popular question and a very common occurrence. We understand your concern.
It's satisfying to know that the negligent driver, who struck and injured you, got the ticket. Also, it often helps that a citation was issued, it's persuasive evidence for the insurance company.
Although no-fault insurance rules apply in Florida, the fault can still be an important question after a car crash. The no-fault law knows certain exceptions, such as when a crash causes substantial injuries, disabling or disfiguring, or medical bills beyond the limits of no-fault coverage.
To recover compensation beyond what is available for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, the injured party must prove that the other driver or some other party was at fault in the crash.
The typical scenario on the road is the following. The crash occurs, and the police show up to the scene. After making sure everyone is okay and checking if there are any witnesses, the officer begins to interview the drivers. The police do not issue tickets for causing accidents, just for violating Florida Statutes. Each driver usually has their story, and if there are no witnesses, the police officer cannot establish fault to decide who broke what law. Therefore, it's likely to see a car accident with no ticket issued.
Do Police Officers Always Write Tickets for Accidents?
The officer, the drivers, and the insurance companies are all going to be wondering who was at fault. Establishing fault in a car accident is the ultimate factor in deciding who's insurance is paying for what. A traffic citation is an allegation of fault. By itself, the ticket is not sufficient evidence to prove a driver was negligent.
Just because a driver is not cited for a driving violation resulting in an injury does not mean he/she is free from liability. Cited is not the issue. Negligence is the issue. Drivers should pursue their claims, as they normally would, by contacting the insurance companies. To resolve claims, the insurance companies will review the police report, interview witnesses, review medical reports, and do further investigation to make a determination of fault. If a person is at fault, he/she is liable. If the other driver's insurance finds its insured was at fault, it will pay. They may decide each driver had some responsibility for the accident and assign each driver a portion of the fault.
It's crucial to understand that neither a police citation nor an insurance company's liability decision will dictate the outcome of a court case.
If the car crash involves severe or fatal injuries and there is a dispute about who is at fault, an injured person or surviving family members have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit. The person who filed the lawsuit will present evidence seeking to prove that the other driver was negligent and he/she or their auto insurance companies owe damages.
Involved in a Car Accident in Miami, Florida? We Can Help!
Evidence of the traffic citation is inadmissible in court. Convictions are admissible in some cases, but charges or tickets are not because everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, whether or not the police cited the other driver is of no concern. The person who files a claim must argue successfully that the other driver was negligent, whether or not they were cited. To prove the claim, the plaintiff can use testimony from the investigating police officer, witnesses, and traffic reconstruction experts. The court will weigh the evidence presented and determine who was at fault.
It is a good plan, and it is free of charge, to have The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary review your accident. You will understand your legal options and make an informed decision about how to proceed.