The Officer Gave Me A Ticket – Do I Still Have A Car Accident Case?
Another driver hit you and you got hurt. You wisely made a call to the police and a police officer came to the scene.
Yet, surprisingly, the police officer said you were responsible and you got a ticket which holds you responsible for the car accident.
Do you still have a valid car accident case?
Under Florida law, you still have a valid car accident case.
I will discuss three points to consider when you have receive a ticket for your car accident case.
First: If You Receive A Non-Criminal Traffic Ticket, You Still Have A Car Accident Case
Generally, traffic tickets are not admissible in car accident cases.
Under Florida Statute Section 318.14(4), if you receive a ticket for a non-criminal infraction, pay a fine, and plead guilty, your plea cannot be used in any subsequent civil proceeding. This subsequent proceeding means your potential car accident case.
Importantly, though, during the pre-suit phase insurance adjusters will rely heavily on traffic tickets, especially if you paid a fine and pled guilty. But not to worry. Seasoned insurance adjusters know that traffic tickets are typically not admissible in court.
Second: Be Careful, There Are Exceptions
There are times, however, when your traffic ticket may be used against you.
In Galgano v. Buchanan, 783 So. 2d 302 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001), the Fourth District Court of Appeals discussed when pleading guilty to a traffic ticket can be used against you in a later civil proceeding. The appellate court noted that a guilty plea to certain non-criminal traffic infractions under Florida Statute Section 318.14(4) can not be used in later civil proceedings.
However, the appellate court noted that if the traffic ticket involved Florida Statute Section 318.19, a guilty plea could be admitted in a later civil proceeding. Section 318.19 states:
Any person cited for the infractions listed in this section shall not have the provisions of s. 318.14(2), (4), and (9) available to him or her but must appear before the designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing:
(1) Any infraction which results in a crash that causes the death of another;
(2) Any infraction which results in a crash that causes “serious bodily injury” of another as defined in s. 316.1933(1);
(3) Any infraction of s. 316.172(1)(b);
(4) Any infraction of s. 316.520(1) or (2); or
(5) Any infraction of s. 316.183(2), s. 316.187, or s. 316.189 of exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph or more.
So for traffic tickets that involve death, serious bodily injury, or any of the other listed infractions, a guilty plea can be used against the driver in a later civil proceeding.
Third: Contact A Car Accident Attorney Immediately
If you were injured in a car accident and received a traffic ticket, call a car accident attorney right away.
A car accident attorney will help you understand how best to proceed with your traffic ticket and to make sure your rights are fully protected. Additionally, he or she will see that your traffic ticket will not impact your car accident case.
Call Barthelette, Your Boca Raton Car Accident Attorney
At Barthelette Law, we have many years of experience handling car accidents.
If you have other questions, be sure to read our car accident page as we answer some of the most commonly asked questions (see: https://barthelettelaw.com/personal-injury/car-accident-attorney/). We are here to answer all of your questions.
We are Barthelette Law, your Boca Raton car accident attorney!
 The full opinion can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1684860702613119743&q=galgano+v+buchanan&hl=en&as_sdt=40006