If you have been involved in a car crash in Plymouth or anywhere else, you might be wondering if your bad driving record will somehow affect your case. It’s common to assume that anyone with a bad driving record is more likely to cause an accident so there’s a chance the jury will not rule in your favor. So is there anything that can be done if you were not responsible for the accident but your bad driving record states otherwise?
What Constitutes a Bad Driving Record?
Many people think getting a speeding ticket is annoying but it’s not considered a big deal if all you have to do is pay the fine and be on your way. What people don’t know is that paying for a speeding ticket affects your driving record no matter how minor the offense is.
Every state has a form of points system to keep track of different car related offenses. You can read all about Rhode Island’s driving laws here.
Points are not added to your license unless you are convicted of a violation you were ticketed for. By paying a ticket, you are admitting you are guilty which, is the same as a conviction. Points are not tracked on the date of conviction but from the day of the violation.
Every state has its own point system and when you reach a certain number of points in a specified period, your license gets revoked or suspended. If you accumulate 8 points your license is suspended and if you accumulate 12 points, it gets revoked.
Prior Acts Rule
In civil cases, having a bad driving record falls under the prior acts rule. This means that you can’t prove that someone is responsible for an accident based on prior driving records. Just because they were convicted of speeding in the past, doesn’t mean that they were speeding at the time of the accident.
Of course, opposing counsel will obtain this information through discovery but that doesn’t mean that it will be admissible at trial.
Bad Driving Records Can Be Admissible
There are circumstances under which a bad driving record can be admissible in court. The general rule is that you or the defendant’s driving records are inadmissible to prove that either of you was driving negligently at the time of the accident but they can be admitted to serve other purposes.
For example, if the defendant boasts of an excellent driving record, his bad driving record can be used against him. Basically the driving record will be used to impeach his credibility.
Another instance where a bad driving record can be submitted into evidence is when an employer knowingly hires or retains a driver with a questionable driving record. In this case, the employer would be considered negligent because they hired and retained an employee knowing fully well that they were unfit to be a driver.
Evidence of Prior Accidents
Evidence of previous accident cannot be used in court to prove that you are responsible for the accident. But if you were involved in a previous accident and you suffered injuries, the records will be used to show that you have a pre-existing injury.
Read how a pre-existing injury can affect your case.
Your car crash lawyer can try to convince the judge to exclude your pre-existing injuries if they were minor or affected a different part of the body other than the one you are claiming was injured in your lawsuit. If you were not the driver when the other accidents happened then you shouldn’t worry too much about it but if you were the one driving, your safest bet would be to exclude as much information about the accident as possible.
Your Car Crash Lawyer in Plymouth Should Be Able to Help
If you have been in a car crash accident and you think your driving record might affect your case, you need to take extra steps to protect your rights and ensure that you get the injury settlement that you deserve. Some driving violations can have a lasting impact on your driving record so by hiring a car accident attorney in Plymouth who understands the intricacies of Rhode Island law, they can assist you in recovering potential damages for injuries that may have happened due to the negligence of someone else.
Visit our Plymouth offices or call us at 508-746-2700 to schedule your free initial consultation. We can also come to wherever you feel comfortable.