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Does who was issued a traffic citation determine the at-fault party in my injury claim

Not necessarily. Who received the ticket is not admissible in Florida. While a police officer who responds to the scene of an accident may issue traffic citations, this does not necessarily determine fault in a civil claim. Traffic citations are issued based on the officer’s observations and any witness statements at the scene. However, the officer was not a witness to the accident. We encourage you to speak with a Jacksonville Automobile Injury Attorney to discuss the specific facts of your accident claim to better understand how a jury may view your case.

Finder of Fact

In Florida, the finder of fact is responsible for determining fault in a car accident. This may be a judge or a jury, depending on the circumstances of the case. In the case of a jury, they will evaluate the evidence presented by both sides and make a determination of fault based on the specific facts of the case. Allowing the jury to hear who the investigating officer issued the citation to raises the concern that the jury may defer to the officer rather than performing their responsibility to review and evaluate the facts and circumstanced to arrive at their own conclusion.
The jury will consider a variety of factors in determining fault, such as the speed and position of the vehicles, the actions of the drivers leading up to the accident, and any traffic laws that may have been violated. The jury will also consider the testimony of witnesses, including drivers, passengers, and bystanders who observed the accident.

Comparative Fault

Until recently, Florida followed a pure comparative negligence system. This meant the Plaintiff could recover from the Defendant the full percentage of fault apportioned to the Defendant regardless of the negligence apportioned to the Plaintiff. The recent changes in the law transition Florida to a modified comparative negligence system. Under our current law, the Plaintiff can only recover if their proportion of negligence is 50% or less than the negligence of the Defendant.

The jury’s determination of fault may not align with the police officer’s assessment of the accident at the scene. By the time the case reaches a jury, there will be more evidence available to analyze. Lawyers representing clients in disputed liability cases often hire experts in accident reconstruction to synthesize all the available information in an effort to recreate the collision. The more information the expert has, the more reliable the reconstruction can be. This is why it is important to gather evidence at the scene. Photograph the resting position of the vehicles, the location of any skid marks, and identify any gouge marks or debris left in the roadway that might help explain the crash.

The ticket may not tell the whole story

In summary, the ultimate decision regarding who is found at fault for an accident in Jacksonville is determined by a jury based on their evaluation of the specific facts and circumstances developed throughout the case and it is not solely determined by the police officer who responds to the scene.

If you have been injured in an accident in Jacksonville and the other driver did not receive a ticket or only received a warning, it is worth speaking with a lawyer at Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A. This is particularly true if you sustained significant injuries but you were the one cited in the crash. Through our expertise and experience, we can help you assess the merits of your potential claims

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