With most motor vehicle accidents resulting in personal injuries police are called to the scene.
The police investigate the accident and make on scene determinations whether to issue traffic infraction citations (e.g. speed to fast for conditions).
A lot of people think that if they received a citation at the accident scene they cannot recover for their personal injuries. That is not always the case.
First, police can make mistakes. We have helped a number of clients successfully contest wrongly issued citations.
For example, earlier this year we successfully challenged a client’s speed too fast for conditions citation issued at the scene. We went on to recover full policy limits from both the liability and UIM carriers.
Second, in Washington evidence a party received a citation, the fine was paid or a traffic judge issued a finding of “guilt” is not admissible in a personal injury case to prove fault of the cited party. Billington, v. Schall, 42 Wash.2d 878, 259 P.2d 634 (1953).
If you receive both a citation and personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident that you don’t think was your fault, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You may have a winning personal injury claim despite the citation—especially if you act fast.