Motorist driving records for those involved in a car accident likely only matter based on who was at fault for the accident. If you were the victim of the accident, your driving record is unlikely to be relevant. But the opposing party might try to use your record to prove that you had some fault in the accident to reduce total compensation under Indiana’s modified comparative negligence law.
Car accident cases are complex and generally require an expert review. As you work to navigate the situation, here’s what you need to know about how your driving record can be used in car accident cases.
Can a Poor Driving Record Impact an Injury Claim?
The impacts your driving record can have on an injury claim vary based on how the accident happened and what your driving history shows.
For example, having multiple speeding tickets on your driving record is something that the insurance company could try to use against you. It could try to show that you have a propensity for speeding and that you were likely speeding at the time of the accident. And yet, if there is no evidence to back up this claim, it won’t matter that you have a history of speeding.
Likewise, you could use the other driver’s record to paint them as a negligent driver. Your attorney can work to demonstrate how the driver has been guilty of speeding previously and is, therefore, more likely to continue that pattern.
In the case of collisions involving commercial vehicles, you could bring up a driver’s record to show that the employer was negligent by failing to do appropriate background checks before hiring the driver.
Regardless, you should disclose information about prior tickets or accidents to your attorney, so they know how to best defend your case. You don’t want your attorney to get blindsided by information that the opposing party brings up in the case.
Likewise, pre-existing conditions could be relevant to your injury case. You should tell your attorney about pre-existing conditions, so your attorney can ensure the insurance company doesn’t try to say that your ailments are due to pre-existing conditions and not the accident.
Can Non-moving Violations Impact My Case?
Now that you’ve disclosed previous tickets and accidents to your attorney, you should walk through your driving history and consider non-moving violation infractions. This might be something like a tail light warning from police, parking tickets, etc.
If the case involves another driver rear-ending you, failure to maintain your vehicle could be relevant. Think through anything that might be relevant to help your attorney prepare your case and avoid claim denial.
What Is Indiana’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law?
This is sometimes called the 51% fault system because if you’re found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you can’t pursue compensation. But if you are found to be less than 51% at fault, you can seek financial recovery. Your compensation will be reduced by the percentage you are found negligent for the accident.
For example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for an accident and the settlement amount is $100,000, you’ll only receive $90,000.
Avoiding comparative negligence requires expert involvement from a skilled attorney who knows how to use evidence to prove you were not involved in the accident or to minimize the percentage of involvement you’re found to have had.
Stewart & Stewart offers a team of highly skilled attorneys ready to help you navigate any type of car accident no matter your driving history. Schedule your free consultation now for the legal representation you deserve.