Following a truck or bus accident there will be an abundance of police and EMS on scene. Following their investigation the police will often issue tickets to the truck driver, other vehicle driver, or both. Depending on the nature of the ticket, it could have a significant impact on your potential for recovery for injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
First, if you were issued a ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt, this alone will not likely destroy your case. It is unlikely that your failure to wear the seatbelt was the cause of the accident, but instead relates to the injuries that you suffered and whether they could have been in some fashion prevented.
New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that in New York, juries are permitted to allocate damages based upon the fault of the parties, and can determine the percentages of fault for each. This is different from some other states, where a plaintiff will lose if they are determined to be even 1% at fault for the accident. On the contrary, in New York a jury can find that you are in fact 99% at fault, and can still award you damages for the 1% that you were not at fault. So if you are hurt because you were not wearing a seatbelt, it is up to a jury to determine whether not wearing the seatbelt was the entire cause of the injuries, or contributed in some way.
If you received a ticket for some other violation, your case could be impacted significantly. If, for example, you were ticketed to texting while driving, reading email while driving, or failing to stay in your lane – these tickets could prove fatal to proving that the other driver, and not you, was at fault for the accident. It is important in this situation that you do not simply plead guilty to the ticket, because doing so can be used against you in a later lawsuit for your injuries.
Instead, if you receive a ticket for distracted driving or something similar, you must be sure to plead not guilty and speak with a lawyer about your options. Often following a truck or bus accident both parties are issued tickets, so the outcome of the other driver's ticket may also play a significant role in the likelihood that you can recover for injuries that you sustained.
Highway truck and bus accidents are often the result of several factors, each of which may be considered by a jury in assessing fault and damages. Most of the time a ticket following an accident will not completely ruin your chances of success in pursuing a claim for your injuries following a truck or bus accident, but it is critical that you talk with a lawyer before taking any action on your own behalf.
If you have questions following a truck or bus accident contact us today.