How Will a Speeding Ticket Impact My Auto Accident Claim?
We all know that speeding can be dangerous. Speeding is a leading cause of auto accidents; and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is to blame for more than a quarter of all fatal vehicle collisions.
Speeding is also against the law. In Colorado, speeding can range from a Class A traffic infraction to a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, and police officers who catch drivers speeding will issue tickets on the side of the road. But, what if you were hit by a speeding driver? Or, what if you were involved in an accident while speeding? How will a speeding ticket impact your claim for financial compensation?
5 Key Facts about Speeding Tickets and Auto Accidents
1. A Ticket is Not a Conviction
First, a ticket is not a conviction. While you will receive a fine and points on your driver’s license if you do nothing, technically speaking, a ticket is a summons to appear in court. If you take your ticket to court, you will have the ability to challenge your ticket and potentially avoid being penalized.
2. A Conviction is Not Proof of Liability
Second, if you are convicted (or if the other driver is convicted) of speeding at the time of your accident, this alone does not establish proof of liability. While you or the other driver may have been speeding, this does not necessarily mean that speeding was the cause (or even a contributing factor) of the collision.
3. A Not-Guilty Verdict is Not Proof of Non-Liability
Third, a not-guilty verdict is not proof of non-liability. One reason for this is that the burden of proof in traffic court is different from the burden of proof in personal injury litigation. In traffic court, the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, you only need to prove liability beyond a “preponderance of the evidence” in order to recover just compensation.
Another reason for this is that speeding is not the only potential cause of an accident. From distracted driving to changing lanes without looking, there are numerous other factors that could entitle you to a financial recovery.
4. A Guilty Plea May Be Admissible as Evidence of Speeding
But, let’s say that the other driver admits to speeding and pleads guilty in court. Surely you must be able to use this to your advantage, right?
Potentially. While the other driver may be “estopped” from denying that he or she was speeding in your civil case after admitting guilt in traffic court, once again, the fact that he or she was speeding may or may not be relevant to your personal injury claim.
5. Speeding is Not an Absolute Bar to Financial Recovery
Finally, let’s assume that you are the one who received a speeding ticket. If this is the case, you could still have a claim for just compensation. Even if you were speeding, and even if your speed was a factor in the accident, you may still be entitled to at least partial compensation under Colorado’s law of comparative fault.
Injured in an Auto Accident that Involved Speeding? Call or Click for a Free Consultation
The automobile accident lawyers at Levine Law provide experienced legal representation for crash victims in Denver, CO. If you have been injured in an accident and would like to speak with an attorney, you can call 303-333-8000 or contact us online for a free consultation.