What Does It Mean to Be Cited for a Car Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you’re well aware of the stress that comes with it: medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, a possible lawsuit… So getting a citation for the incident is like adding insult to injury. What does it mean to be cited for a car accident? CW

Why Was I Cited for a Car Accident?

If you received a citation after a car accident, it means that the police officer at the scene believes that you were at fault for the incident. However, auto accidents are not always cut and dry. It is possible for both parties to be cited.

If you’re the only one who received a citation, it will be a battle convincing the insurance company that the accident was not your fault. That being said, Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction. If both you and the other driver were cited, a Court would look at the percentage of negligence and apportion damages accordingly. For example, if you were texting while driving and the other driver ran a red light, you’re both at fault. Damages would be split 50/50 and the other party would only be able to recover 50% of their medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs from you, and vice versa.

Once a citation has been issued, payment is due in 30 days. Failure to pay could result in a suspended driver’s license. And driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor in the second degree, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A second offense is a misdemeanor in the first degree, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The third time is a felony in the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Can I Fight My Citation?

Yes, you can fight the citation. On the ticket itself, there will be an option to request a hearing. If you do so and plead guilty, the Court will send the information to the DMV and it will go on your driving record. Moving forward, any insurance company will be able to see the accident and could increase your premiums as a result.

You also have the option of disputing the citation. Instructions on how to request a court hearing are on the back of the ticket. The hearing will be scheduled in the same county where the citation was issued. The burden of proof will be on you. This means that you are the person who will need to provide all the evidence necessary to show that you were not at fault (or only partially at fault).

There are several ways of collecting this evidence: by witness testimony, subpoena of surveillance video, and/or deposition of the police officer. In some instances, expert testimony may be necessary to either reconstruct the accident, or to dispute the validity of a radar’s speed reading. In other instances, you may bring in evidence of negligence by a third party, such as your car’s manufacturer, mechanic, or the Department of Transportation.

Call Clark Law If You Received a Citation in Tampa Bay

For the best chance at disputing a citation, discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney. You don’t know what you don’t know.

If you want to fight a traffic ticket or citation, call us at  (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and we can help you determine the best next step.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.