A Traffic Ticket or Citation Does Not Make a Driver at Fault for an Accident

by Faye C.
(Germantown, MD)

The other driver involved in the accident with me got a ticket from the police, but his insurance company denied my claim. How can they do that? Jake S., Pasadena, MD

We would need to know exactly what the ticket was for, but generally the fact that a driver involved in an accident received a traffic ticket or citation does not necessary mean that he was to blame for the accident. For example, there is the classic hypothetical case that we in the industry like to bring up about the drunk driver who is stopped at a red light when he is rear ended. He is ticketed and arrested at the scene for DWI, but he did nothing to cause the accident.

Tickets can be given for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with accident liability. The other driver might have been ticketed for not having insurance, not being able to present a drivers license or vehicle registration, or for driving with expired tags. None of those violations would mean that he was at fault for the accident, nor do they present him from pursuing a damage or personal injury claim against the other driver if the other driver was at fault.

However, if the other driver is cited for something such as exceeding the speed limit, making an unsafe lane change or failing to heed a traffic signal such as a red light or a stop sign, those moving violations would affect the finding of fault in the accident.

This article is approved for informational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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