Can a guilty plea to a traffic ticket help prove fault in an injury case?
Injury claims resulting from traffic accidents can present challenges in establishing fault and liability on the part of drivers that seemingly cause the accident. In many accidents, traffic citations are issued after the police officer’s on-scene investigation. When a motorist receives such a citation and pleads guilty to the citation, the guilty plea may be used in a civil lawsuit as evidence that the motorist was at fault, or liable, for the accident. Illinois law generally views the guilty plea as an admission against interest. Exceptions to this rule do exist in cases where the motorist who pleads guilty did not appreciate the effect of the guilty plea on the later civil lawsuit.
Even though guilty pleas to traffic citations could be admissible in a later civil lawsuit, many injury victims are shocked to learn that the underlying police report is generally not admissible, nor is the mere issuance of a traffic ticket. Furthermore, in most instances, a contested conviction on the traffic citation following a trial where the motorist pled not guilty will not be admissible in a later civil lawsuit.
As the evidence needed to pursue an injury claim is complex, injury victims need an experienced accident attorney to fight for their rights. If you or your family member has been injured as a result of an accident, please call the accident attorneys at Feagans Law Group and allow us to guide your path to justice.