You may have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. You could have suffered a catastrophic injury, or you’re dealing with severe neck and back pain that will eventually get better. Whatever the case may be, the last thing you’ll want to have to deal with is a driving record that will be used against you – even if there’s no rational way that should happen.
Unfortunately, insurance companies will often try to do just that. They’ll oftentimes bring up an injury victim’s past in an effort to keep from having to pay fair compensation. At The Eberst Law Firm, we’ve seen this despicable tactic employed time and time again.
We’ve also helped many injury victims defeat those tactics, helping them get the money they deserved for the suffering they were forced to endure. We may be able to do the same thing for you. If you would like to schedule a free case review, please give us a call at 888-CALL-JON or contact us online.
We’d like to share some information to give you an idea of how your driving record may come into play in determining the outcome of your case.
Prior Accidents on Your Driving Record
If you’re going to have the best chance of winning your case, of course, you’re going to need to provide hard evidence that proves you weren’t the one to blame for the accident.
But you need to be aware that the insurance company that covers the defendant in your case will work to produce evidence to defeat you. If you have a previous accident on your record, the insurer might try to claim it was that accident – not the one in which you were just involved – that was the cause of your injury. It will claim it shouldn’t have to pay for the medical care you require, because you were already hurt.
For this – and many, many other – reasons, you’re going to need an attorney by your side to fight the insurance company’s blatant attempt to use any sort of excuse possible to deny your claim.
Non-Moving Violations on Your Driving Record
Even if you don’t have a previous accident on your record, the insurance company may look for the tiniest shred of evidence that you’re a careless driver, and that you were to blame (or at least you should share the blame) for your accident.
Say, for example, that you have a couple of parking tickets in the past. That probably won’t go very far in swaying the argument either in favor of your obtaining compensation, or hurting your chances. But if you have prior violations for something more serious, such as driving with a broken taillight, that could pose a problem.
When you speak with your attorney, you’ll need to be completely transparent when it comes to your driving record. Tell your legal representative everything. That way, your attorney will be ready for whatever tricks the defendant’s insurance company might try to play.
Points on Your License
When Florida drivers commit violations, they amass “points” that go on their record. The more points a driver amasses, the greater the risk of suffering penalties. We’ll take a closer look at the penalties in the next section.
Minor violations result in fewer points. For example, a non-moving violation, such as a parking ticket, won’t lead to points on your record. If you’re caught speeding 15 mph or less over the speed limit, you’ll get three points.
If, on the other hand, you commit more serious violations, then, of course, you’ll get more points. Passing a school bus, for example, will earn four points, as will a reckless driving violation. If you’re found to have caused a crash while speeding, that will add six points to your record, as will fleeing the scene of an accident that leads to damage greater than $50.
If you have points on your driving record, there’s a pretty good chance the insurance company will bring that up during your case. If you have a lot of points, that could help the insurer paint you as a habitually reckless driver. Again, though, a skilled attorney can defeat that effort and help you obtain the money you have coming to you.
A license suspension could also be used to damage your case. Drivers who accumulate 12 points during a period of one year could have their licenses suspended for 30 days. Drivers with 18 months during an 18-month period could lose their license for 90 days.
Will My Poor Driving Record Lower My Claim’s Value?
Because you’ve suffered an injury, you’ve also incurred what are known as “damages,” the legal term for monetary losses. You have medical bills, and you’ve also missed time from work, possibly leading to a significant loss in wages.
The defendant’s insurance company knows that, of course, but it couldn’t care less. As you’ve probably already learned firsthand, it’s going to do everything possible to either lower the value of your claim or deny that claim outright.
So, will your driving record wind up hurting your case, or could it possibly help? It depends on what kinds of blemishes are on your record, as well as that of the at-fault driver.
If you have 10 speeding tickets, and an investigation shows that speeding played a role in the accident, you can bet the insurance company is going to bring up your past. It will claim that you have a pattern of driving dangerously, so you should at least share the blame.
But if the other driver has a record of reckless driving, it’s possible that could help make your case stronger.
Speak to a Car Accident Attorney for Reassurance
No matter what kind of driving record you have – even if it’s spotless – you’ll need an attorney if you want the best possible chance of obtaining compensation. The Eberst Law Firm has a team of attorneys who are here to help. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-CALL-JON or using our online form.