Can My Bad Driving Record Affect My Car Accident Case?
If you were involved in a car accident in Rhode Island and have a bad driving record, you might fear that your past traffic violations could affect your ability to recover damages.
Many people assume that if someone has prior traffic violations on their record, they can be held at fault for an unrelated car crash based on their bad driving record.
But can your bad driving record affect your car accident case in Rhode Island? In most cases, no. However, it is best to discuss your particular situation with a knowledgeable car accident attorney in Rhode Island.
What is a bad driving record, exactly?
Receiving a traffic citation and being convicted of the violation can negatively affect your driving record no matter how insignificant the offense is. A traffic violation is a traffic violation, and it will remain on your driving record for three years, according to Rhode Island General Law § 31-41.1-7.
In Rhode Island, points are added to your driver’s license only when you are convicted of the traffic violation you received a ticket for. Also, do keep in mind that paying a traffic ticket counts as an admission of guilt, which will lead to a conviction.
For this reason, when you receive a traffic ticket for something you did not do or you had a legitimate excuse to do it, it may be best to hire a lawyer to contest the ticket instead of simply paying it.
Can your bad driving record affect your civil case in Rhode Island?
In most cases, you cannot prove that another driver is at fault for causing the accident based on their bad driving record or prior traffic convictions. The fact that you were convicted of a traffic violation in the past cannot be used against you to prove that you are to blame for your most recent accident if the crash is unrelated to the incident that led to the conviction.
While the other party or insurance company can obtain a copy of your bad driving record through discovery, it does not necessarily mean that this will be an admissible piece of evidence to prove your guilt.
When a bad driving record can affect your car accident case
Under certain circumstances, your bad driving record can be used against you and could be admissible as evidence in a civil case. Some examples of how a bad driving record could potentially affect your accident case are:
- Your driving record can be used as evidence to prove that you are making false statements and undermine your credibility. For example, if you tell the judge that you have a good driving record and have never had a traffic violation on your record, the opposing party can present your driving record to prove that you are not telling the truth.
- A person’s driving record can be used to show that their employer failed to conduct the pre-employment background check properly. If the employer hired a driver with a bad driving record, they might be deemed negligent in a civil case.
- Evidence of prior car accidents could be used in court to argue that you have pre-existing injuries. Often, insurance companies attempt to undervalue or deny claims based on the claimant’s pre-existing injuries.