How Traffic Tickets May Play a Role in a Car Accident Claim

traffic ticket after a car accidentReceiving a traffic ticket after a car accident can impact your claim in several ways. It could harm your chances of recovering the compensation needed to pay for your injuries and damages. Traffic tickets are just one piece of evidence used by insurance companies to determine fault for a crash.

If you need legal help, reach out to one of our Oshkosh-based auto accident attorneys for a free consultation. There is no obligation to move forward and no upfront costs to retain our services. Our firm has nearly 100 years of combined experience protecting the rights of accident victims throughout Wisconsin. We are well-versed in state traffic laws and how they may apply to your circumstances.

Call (877) 888-5201 for a free case review.

Common Traffic Violations That Lead to Accidents

Wisconsin has a point-based citation system. It assigns a certain number of demerit points to a driver’s license for each traffic violation that is committed. Under this system, driving privileges may be suspended once 12 points are assigned on a driver’s license within a 12 month time period.

Some of the most common traffic violations that lead to accidents are:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Inattentive driving
  • Failure to keep a vehicle under control
  • Following too closely
  • Deviating from the traffic lane
  • Disobeying a sign or signal
  • Operating under the influence
  • Driving with a suspended/revoked license
  • Operating without a license

Does a Traffic Citation Clearly Demonstrate Fault in a Crash?

While a traffic citation is not the only evidence used to prove fault, there are certain circumstances where it may clearly show who is liable for a crash.

For instance, say a driver is going too fast on the road. The driver loses control of his or her vehicle and hits another driver. He or she will likely receive a citation for speeding. The driver is clearly at fault because had he or she been obeying the speed limit, the crash would not have occurred. The traffic citation could help support that negligence was involved.

How Does Comparative Negligence Impact Compensation?

In a car accident case, it is important to be informed of any laws that could impact your ability to obtain fair compensation or any compensation at all. Wisconsin follows a modified comparative negligence statute. Drivers could still be eligible for compensation provided they are not more to blame for the crash than the other driver. Compensation would be reduced, according to their percentage of fault.

If you are deemed 30 percent at fault for the accident and your compensation award was $50,000, the amount will be reduced by 30 percent or $15,000. Your recovery, in the end, would be $35,000.

Our attorneys at Sigman Janssen are ready to make sure that you are not assigned more blame, if any, for an accident. We know what it takes to build a strong claim for the maximum recovery possible.

What If Both Drivers Involved Receive a Citation?

If both drivers receive traffic citations, liability will likely be shared between them. However, the fact both drivers were ticketed does not automatically demonstrate that they share equal blame. One of the drivers may have even been issued a citation that did not directly play a role in the crash.

For instance, if you made an unsafe lane change at the intersection but the other driver approaching from the opposite way ran the red light and hit you, you would both be partially to blame for the crash.

Be Mindful About What You Say After the Crash

If the other driver chooses to dispute a traffic citation related to the crash, you may be asked to testify in a hearing. It is important to refrain from saying anything that could be used as an admission of fault or guilt, especially if you know that you are not responsible for causing the crash.

Your words could be used against you after a crash if you are not careful, especially by an insurance company looking to pay out the least amount possible.

Having legal representation to offer advice and counsel could prove beneficial to the outcome of your claim. Car accident victims who decide to hire a lawyer have a better chance of recovering compensation than those who do not. Unlike the insurance company, a lawyer has your best interests in mind.

We Are Ready to Assist with Your Accident Claim

If you have been involved in a car accident where a traffic citation was issued, we recommend reaching out to an experienced attorney before pursuing a claim for compensation.

The legal team at Sigman Janssen is prepared to review your situation and discuss your rights in a free consultation. You are under no obligation to hire our firm, but if you do, we charge zero upfront fees. We only receive payment for our services if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.

A Local Firm You Can Trust. Ph: (877) 888-5201

Can I Pursue Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident?

car accident victim receiving treatment for PTSDAfter a car accident, victims can suffer various physical injuries, from lacerations or broken bones to more serious, debilitating injuries impacting the brain or spinal cord.

Aside from physical harm, the shock and devastation caused by serious car accidents can also lead to emotional trauma. Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can negatively affect their everyday lives and relationships with spouses, friends, family members and co-workers.

Our reputable car accident lawyers in Appleton are prepared to determine your options for pursuing compensation for the emotional trauma you have experienced and any other injuries that have affected your life. Our initial consultations are free and confidential. You are not obligated to take legal action.

Damaging Effects of PTSD

PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. This includes serious car accidents. PTSD can have lasting, painful effects on a victim’s life. He or she may be struggling to function at home or work, or unable to maintain personal and intimate relationships.

Some factors that could increase the risk of PTSD for car accident victims include:

  • The nature of the crash was particularly severe
  • The victim suffered a critical or life-threatening injury
  • The victim felt his or her life was in danger during the accident
  • The victim witnessed the death of a loved one or another party
  • The victim has previously experienced a traumatic or stressful event

Car accident victims struggling with PTSD may require extensive therapy for these issues. Treatment may be ongoing and involve taking medications to help address anxiety, depression or other issues.

If left untreated, PTSD can lead to major depression, drug abuse, alcoholism or self-destructive acts.

Identifying PTSD Symptoms After a Crash

PTSD symptoms victims may have after a crash include, but are not limited to:

  • General fear and anxiety – An accident victim may have unwanted thoughts that can be overwhelming and will not go away without getting treatment.
  • Reliving the crash and thinking about it often – The victim may avoid any reminder of the crash by not driving or even riding in a car. He or she may take a longer route going home or to work in order to avoid driving through or near the accident scene.
  • Excessively worrying, feeling angry or irritable – An accident victim may have difficultly being able to relax since he or she is constantly anticipating danger. As a result, his or her senses are on high alert and could leave him or her drained of energy and fatigued.
  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping and restlessness – The victim may have issues sleeping or having nightmares, leading to exhaustion and causing havoc on his or her mental state.

Many of these symptoms are not always immediately apparent after a car accident. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it could take up to three months to start experiencing PTSD symptoms and sometimes it may take longer.

In Wisconsin, PTSD can be diagnosed by a licensed clinical social worker, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. To meet the criteria for PTSD, symptoms must last longer than a month and be severe enough to interfere with a victim’s daily life and relationships.

That is why it is vital to receive medical care as soon as possible and then consult with an experienced lawyer to help assess the damages you have suffered due to PTSD.

Pursuing Compensation for PTSD

Your lawyer will take into consideration not just your physical injuries, but also the emotional trauma you have experienced due to the crash.

To seek compensation for PTSD, negligence must have played a role. Another person’s negligent actions or inactions must have been the direct cause your injuries and the damages you have suffered.

You and your lawyer will need supportive evidence, such as a PTSD diagnosis from your treating doctor(s), medical bills related to your treatment and receipts for prescription medications. You must also show how having PTSD has impacted your ability to work and make a living.

Keeping a journal documenting your experiences and the ways it has limited you from interacting with others and doing certain activities you once enjoyed could help build a strong case for compensation.

Based on your circumstances, you may be eligible for financial compensation to cover mental health services, lost income or ongoing medical care as long as you file within three years from the date of the accident. Otherwise, the court may dismiss the case.

Our Firm is Ready to Help

The lawyers at Sigman Janssen are ready to help recover the maximum compensation possible after suffering PTSD from a serious car accident. If you were injured by a negligent driver, schedule a free case evaluation today. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees for our services. Our firm only receives payment at the end of the legal process if we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.

Legal Help You Can Trust. Ph: (877) 888-5201

Questions You May Be Asked About Your Car Accident Claim

questions about car accident claimsWe will make every effort to resolve your claim through a fair and reasonable settlement. However, if your car accident claim is not resolved through a settlement, a lawsuit and trial may be necessary. There are several procedural steps that follow the filing of your lawsuit, including discovery. During this phase, you may be required to answer questions and provide important information about your claim. At the same time, your lawyer could obtain valuable information from the other party.

The Oshkosh car accident lawyers from our firm are prepared to help you during this phase of your claim. We often advise our clients how to answer certain questions, as well as which questions to ask the other side. Let us review your situation and discuss your legal options during a free consultation.

The Discovery Phase

Wisconsin’s civil procedural rules allow each party to “discover” information about the case. This helps lawyers gather the information they need to prove their claim or make a defense, as well as to avoid surprises. Interrogatories are just one aspect of the discovery phase.

Understanding Interrogatories

Interrogatories are questions that a party involved in litigation sends to the other party. These questions must be answered truthfully under oath, unless there is a valid objection to the question. The party can ask most questions that could provide relevant information in the case, unless otherwise prohibited by confidentiality or the law.

Both parties are allowed to send interrogatories to one another. Interrogatories to parties must usually be completed and returned within 30 days of receiving them.

Information Exchanged Between Parties

The parties may also exchange information in other ways. After the car accident, the parties should have exchanged basic contact information and their insurance information with each other.

There are other tools that can be used to gather information from the other party. Some information can be gathered less formally, such as by requesting copies of medical or employment records. You can also ask your lawyer to prepare a subpoena to collect relevant documents.

Another discovery tool that may be used is a request for admissions, which is a series of assertions that the opposing party must either admit or deny.

Questions Asked in Car Accident Interrogatories  

Car accident interrogatories will differ from case to case, but some of the most common questions asked may include:

  • How did the accident occur?
  • Where were you headed at the time of the crash?
  • Did you have auto insurance coverage when the accident happened?
  • How fast were you driving at the time of the accident?
  • Have you been involved in any accidents within the past ten years?
  • Were you under any medication when the crash occurred?
  • Have you lost any time off work because of the accident?
  • Are you required to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses when driving?
  • What damages have you sustained?
  • Did you suffer injuries in the crash?
  • Did you receive medical treatment after the accident?

You should also be prepared to provide the following information to the other party:

  • Fully identify yourself
  • State your version of events of how the crash happened
  • Identify any witnesses who observed the accident
  • List and describe your injuries
  • List all health care providers you have seen in relation to the treatment for your injuries
  • Describe your earning and employment history
  • Identify all documents you plan to present at trial
  • Identify all lay witnesses and expert witnesses you plan to call at trial

Learn More About the Legal Process

If you were injured in a car accident, the dedicated legal team at Sigman Janssen is ready to help. Our accident attorneys have assisted many car accident victims and their families, recovering fair compensation for their damages.

Your initial consultation is free, which means there is no cost to discuss your claim with our firm. There are also no upfront costs for our services. You only pay us if we help you recover compensation through a settlement or verdict.

Give us a call at (877) 888-5201 to get started.