Originally published April 25, 2022.
Car accidents are always a big hassle, no matter how minor they may be. But beyond that, nothing is certain: even a low-speed accident might leave you with injuries, it could have a devastating impact on your finances, and it can negatively affect your insurance rate.
Another variable is whether or not law enforcement will issue a ticket to someone involved in the accident. While many drivers expect the ticketbook to come out, the truth is that police officers are not required to issue any tickets after an accident, and often don’t. Read on to learn more about the misconception that every accident results in a ticket.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one was involved in an accident, consider reaching out to the Utah personal injury lawyers at our law firm for help. A skilled personal injury attorney can protect your rights after an accident and ensure you’re taking the proper steps to receive compensation for your injuries.
Are Tickets Always Issued After Accidents?
Not every accident results in someone getting a ticket. Police can issue tickets, also called citations, immediately after an accident if the cause of the crash was apparent. They can also issue tickets if they witness part of an accident themselves.
However, police are not required to issue tickets after an accident. They may be unable to determine the cause of the accident or who is at fault. There could be conflicting reports, and further investigation of the accident is needed to determine if tickets should be issued. Some accidents occur without violating traffic laws, so there’s no reason to issue a citation.
Every accident is different, and you or the other driver may receive a ticket based on the circumstances of your crash. It’s essential to contact the police immediately after your accident, even if you’re worried about receiving a ticket; authorities need to complete a police report that documents details of the event.
By law, you’re required to report all car accidents in Utah that result in an injury, death or more than $2,500 worth of total property damage. Police reports are crucial for determining fault and receiving compensation after an accident.
Is Paying a Ticket the Same as Admitting Fault?
Receiving a ticket does not mean you’re at fault for the action being described. A police officer may issue a ticket based on incorrect information gathered from witnesses to the accident or other drivers. However, paying any ticket you receive is an admission of fault.
Once you have paid your ticket, you lose your right to challenge the ticket in court. If your ticket was for negligent driving behavior, such as failure to stop or yield for traffic, it could impact your personal injury case. This is because the actions and behaviors of drivers determine fault in civil car accident claims.
How Fault is Determined in Utah Car Accidents
All drivers in Utah must abide by state and local traffic laws. They also are responsible for providing a duty of care, which means they must drive responsibly and with consideration for the safety of others.
When drivers fail to fulfill their duty of care, they commit negligence. Drivers who are found negligent are considered at fault for car accidents in Utah. Negligence in car accidents can include driving while impaired, speeding, disobeying traffic laws, and not properly maintaining your vehicle if it contributes to causing the crash (for example, driving with bald tires or worn-done brake pads).
If one of these factors resulted in your injuries, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Utah is a modified comparative negligence state with a 50% at-fault bar for car accidents and other personal injury cases. This law means that your share of negligence reduces any compensation you receive from your car accident lawsuit.
For example, if you’re found to be 30% at fault for the accident, the total compensation you’re awarded will be reduced by 30%. This is why admitting fault or paying tickets after an accident can lower the compensation you receive.
You receive nothing if you are 50% or more responsible for your accident. This is why hiring a lawyer is so important. They can help reduce or eliminate your fault in an accident.
Can You Receive Compensation if You Receive a Ticket?
You can receive compensation even if you receive a ticket, as long as your percentage of fault is less than 50%. Anyone who suffers an injury due to another driver’s negligence has the right to seek compensation.
In Utah, accident victims can file a lawsuit against another driver for compensation after exceeding their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Limits of PIP insurance are capped at $3,000 for medical expenses in Utah, so you will need to file a lawsuit if your expenses are greater than this amount.
Car accident victims can filing a personal injury lawsuit directly if their injuries resulted in:
- Broken bones
- Permanent impairments or disabilities
- Permanent disfigurement
Working with a car accident lawyer is your best chance to be awarded the compensation you deserve after an accident.
Getting Legal Help
Contact an auto accident attorney if you have questions about a ticket from your car accident or the compensation you’re eligible to receive. At Great West Injury Law, our legal team understands an accident’s financial and emotional impact.
We always represent your best interests and work hard to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can handle every aspect of your case while you recover from your accident. Contact us today for a free review of your case.