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How Your Driving Record May Affect Your Injury Claim

— March 30, 2022

Finding a way to introduce the driving records of all the parties involved in your accident might be challenging.

In some states, insurance companies can use your driving record and past driving mistakes in court to show a pattern of negligent driving behavior. That contributes to the evidence that you possibly made similar mistakes in your current case. Insurance companies can also use past accident injuries to suggest pre-existing injuries instead of injuries caused by the recent accident.

According to the information offered by financial experts, insurance rates can rise an average of 51% after an accident – especially if you bear some percentage of responsibility for causing the accident. In addition, your driving record and insurance premiums can be used in court as evidence of careless driving habits.

Using Criminal Tickets to Create Doubt

Legal experts agree that defendants and plaintiffs can’t use evidence of prior convictions of criminal-based driving offenses to prove guilt to driving offenses. However, lawyers can use your past driving record to cast doubt on your credibility and testimony.

Criminal driving offenses resulting in felony convictions can be used to impeach a witness’s credibility. Examples of these types of driving offenses include:

  • Careless driving
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Illegal drag racing
  • Driving with an expired or suspended license
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Charges of hit and run

Your driving record can portray you as a careless driver with wild driving tendencies, which often convinces juries to deny or minimize any damage claims pursued in a lawsuit. In addition, insurance companies frequently use injuries from prior accidents to generate doubt about the validity of the current claim of injuries.

Breaking the Aggressive Driving Habit

Many drivers view an accident as a wake-up call to drive more carefully and defensively and avoid bad driving habits like speeding, reckless driving, and failure to yield the right-of-way. Unfortunately, statistics show that many drivers regularly repeat their offenses in the mistaken belief that aggressive driving is safer.

Repeat offenders include the most heavily populated areas of the northeastern United States, and repeat DUIs are common in Wyoming, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, and Alaska. In addition, midwestern drivers often have repeat violations of driving on a suspended license – possibly because of the difficulties of getting around in large, sparsely populated regions.

Driving Records Can Help or Hurt Your Claims

According to an expert Altoona car crash lawyer, the driving records of all parties involved in an accident might be relevant information that you can use to your benefit. One or more drivers might have a sketchy driving record with numerous accidents and criminal traffic offenses.

Police in Connecticut administer the one leg stand test to a driver after a crash. Photo by Versageek, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Your lawyer can protect you from similar efforts by the defendant to discredit your testimony. You can use physical evidence to confirm that you weren’t at fault. Your courtroom attitude also impacts judge or jury decisions. If questioned about past driving offenses, stay calm and professional. Point out that the offenses were youthful mistakes and summarize any driving classes you’ve taken.

Use Tangible Evidence to Support Your Claims

The tangible evidence of your case might include tire skid marks, GPS-based evidence, corroborative testimony, glass, fibers, and paint trace evidence. Even trace evidence can be used in high-profile cases like devastating truck accidents.

Putting Pressure on Insurance Companies

Finding a way to introduce the driving records of all the parties involved in your accident might be challenging. However, it might be unnecessary. In addition, using details of the other driver’s record can put increased pressure on the insurance company to settle the case favorably for you.

Figuring out negligence and contributory negligence are complex tasks that police and lawyers have a duty of care to investigate carefully. The evidence consists of police reports, physical evidence, circumstantial evidence, and documents that include driving records.

Hiring an Attorney

Hiring an experienced attorney can make the difference between finessing a bad driving record and winning compensation or having your case go sideways. In addition, when contemplating a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you can often hire an attorney on contingency. That means you don’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees unless you receive a settlement or a court-ordered award. 

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