How Citations Affect Auto Accident Cases
Once the police get involved in an accident, there’s a good likelihood that alongside their police report, they’ll issue a citation to one or both drivers to concretely state who did what wrong. Making claims against a driver with a citation is oftentimes simple, and can result in an uncontested victory with a quick, reasonable settlement—however, things aren’t always that simple. Citations are ultimately just a piece of evidence; their presence on either side (or lack thereof) isn’t intrinsically linked to a successful or unsuccessful auto accident case and could reflect a much broader range of situations than you’d expect.
The Value of Citations
Citations can be hallmarks of an extremely strong case, as they present impartial evidence from the police as to a party’s negligent or reckless behavior. For example, if two people get into an accident, but one of them has a speeding citation, a citation for drunk driving, and a citation for running a red light, it’s very easy to guess who’s at fault and what happened. While far from absolute, citations can be compelling evidence for a case, and can be extremely difficult to contest without strong legal representation and contradictory evidence of your own.
How Citations Can Be Misleading
However, just because a citation has been levied against you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t eligible for reasonable compensation or even that you’re at fault; similarly, citations against the other driver might not present as sure-fire a case as you might expect. There are generally three reasons that this might be true:
- Inaccuracy. Some citations are based on lies, misleading information, or faulty memories after auto accidents at times, and might have little to no real grounds for existing. Gathering extensive evidence is vital to ensuring that inaccurate citations are dismissed quickly.
- Irrelevance. Some citations have little to no bearing on the accident, and resultant case, or might only be partially applicable. Citations for being an uninsured motorist, driving without a license, and similar citations have nothing to do with getting into a crash; similarly, while driving without a seatbelt will make you liable for a portion of your own injuries, it isn’t something that actually causes accidents.
- Relative importance. Even if one party has a citation that implicates them in the accident, the other party could still predominantly be at fault, whether or not they’re cited for something more significant. This will boil down to your level of liability within Arizona’s pure comparative fault system, so don’t let another driver blow your citation out of proportion if it’s only a part of the story.
Fighting Citations After an Arizona Auto Accident
If you’ve been cited as part of an accident you didn’t altogether cause, you’re likely to struggle to receive fair compensation, if any. Talking to an Arizona auto accident attorney is the best way to overcome these legal hurdles, so give ELG a call at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation today. We’re experienced enough to give you unique insights into a case and can help not only to advise you on your personal best course of action but also to make that plan a reality, securing you the comprehensive financial recovery you deserve.