Yes, you can receive a citation several days or even weeks after a collision in most states. Just because you did not receive a ticket for a traffic violation at the accident scene does not mean you will never get one. It could take hours or several days for law enforcement to wrap up its investigation of an accident.
If a property damage collision occurred, the other driver likely filed an accident report instead of having police report to the scene. This makes it much more likely for it to take several days before a police officer issues any citations based on the accident.
Reasons People Receive Tickets After Traffic Accidents
Any violation of a traffic rule or criminal law could lead to a citation after a traffic accident. However, the most common citations stem from violations of traffic laws that caused or contributed to a motor vehicle crash. This could include:
- Speeding tickets
- Going too fast for road or driving conditions
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Running a traffic light or stop sign
- Failing to signal when merging, changing lanes, or turning
- Failure to maintain lane
Other traffic offenses that could occur and contribute to a collision include:
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving without a driver’s license
Some may have little to do with the crash, but the police learned of illegal activity because of the accident. Examples include:
- Not having the required insurance coverage
- Drug possession
- Possession of stolen property
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Figuring Out What Happened Can Delay the Traffic Citation Process
When law enforcement officers investigate a traffic accident, the investigation is not only about what you witness at the scene. They may also take additional steps over the following hours and days, such as:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining and watching traffic camera footage of the accident
- Looking at a survey of the scene
- Analyzing other accident-related evidence
Some of these steps can be time-consuming or cause delays. However, they are also critical in determining what happened and who caused the crash.
For example, an officer may not know which car ran the red light and caused an intersection collision. Once the officer requests, obtains, and views the surveillance video from a nearby gas station, it can be apparent which driver violated the law. This driver caused the accident and should receive a citation.
Determining Fault in Complex Cases Can Also Cause Delays
If the accident was not straightforward or if there are questions and doubts about who to cite, it could take several days or weeks to decide who was at fault in an accident. This can be the case when any of the following occur:
- Accidents involving more than one vehicle
- Accidents involving uninsured drivers or drivers who did not have their driver’s license or insurance card at the time of the accident
- Vehicle collisions in which both drivers broke traffic laws
- Few or no accident witnesses who can share what they saw
- More than one version of what happened exists
Your case involves unique factors that an attorney can review. Before you reply to a citation, you can consult with an attorney to find out how you should approach it. Finding out which driver was liable for a crash is one key to the compensation case you could bring against the person you believe owes you damages. If you can show where the driver received a citation, you can make a case for their negligence.
Getting a Ticket does Not Always Mean You Are Liable
While it is generally the responsible party that breaks traffic laws and receives a citation, this is not universally true. There may be some situations when, especially when both parties receive citations, you can get a ticket and still recover compensation for your damages as the accident victim.
For example, if a drunk driver runs a red light and slams into your vehicle, but you received a citation for not having a seat belt on, the other driver is still at fault for the crash.
You may want to work with a personal injury attorney in these cases, which often bring contributory negligence accusations with them. This means the other driver can claim you are partially responsible for your injuries, greatly reducing your payout if they have the evidence to support it. It is in your favor to fight traffic tickets. If they stick, you will have them on your driving record, and that could mean paying higher insurance premiums as you exercise your driving privileges.
Insurance Companies Will Likely Want to See Who Got the Traffic Ticket
Insurance adjusters typically seek ways to reduce the compensation they pay out for insurance claims. If you got the traffic ticket, they could always argue you are at fault for the accident. An attorney can address the insurer on your behalf and protect your rights and interests after an accident. They will work to reduce or erase the percentage of fault assigned to you.
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Work With a Car Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Some states bar you from financial recovery or significantly reduce your compensation if you contributed to your collision and injuries. If you received a ticket but believe the other driver caused the crash, you will likely want someone on your side to mitigate the accusations against you. You don’t have to wait until days after receipt of a ticket.
We can help you now. Our attorney can retrieve the police report from the accident, gather and review accident evidence, document witness testimony, and identify all potentially liable parties in the accident. This is particularly helpful if you cannot take care of these tasks because you are at home or in the hospital recovering from an accident.
A lawyer may also be able to pursue compensatory damages on your behalf that include:
- Medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and related costs
- Future medical needs because of your accident injuries
- Lost income and reduced earning capacity (future earnings)
- Property damages
- Related expenses and losses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
An accident attorney can review the accident and assess the damages you suffered. Some of your losses could be covered under personal injury protection laws depending on where you live in the U.S. If so, your attorney can advise you on how to approach your compensation case.
Statute of Limitations Deadlines in Personal Injury Cases
Generally, the following statute of limitations deadlines apply when filing a personal injury lawsuit based on a car accident. The clock begins running on the day of the accident. Exceptions to the statute could also mean you have more or less time than you think. Always discuss the deadlines in your case with your lawyer.
You should connect with our law firm’s office near you as soon as you can make the call. You have a limited time to file your civil case, and your state’s statute of limitations sets this deadline. Your personal injury lawyer can give you the timeline and deadline that applies to your case. They may also be able to offer advice about your traffic citation and how it may affect the case.
Morris Bart, LLC, Can Review Your Legal Options for Free
If you get a traffic ticket days after an accident, you can talk to a lawyer familiar with cases like yours and learn more about the next steps to take. The Morris Bart law firm provides complimentary consultations for car crash victims at each of our 15 locations.
We are a contingency fee personal injury firm handling cases in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We can work on your case at no upfront cost and only recover payment if you receive compensation.
Call us today to reach our attorney’s office that is closest to you for a free legal consultation.
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