When you are in a car accident, it is important to establish fault. Both the insurance and civil justice systems revolve around this idea. Often, fault is an accident. One driver didn’t see the other, or maybe something unexpected happened inside the car, distracting the diver. Sometimes, however, accidents are the result of direct, illegal behavior. A driver could speed, run a run light, drive recklessly, or behave in any number of criminal ways. When that is the case, this behavior could have a direct result on an injury claim.
Oklahoma’s car insurance system is an “at-fault” model. This means that the driver responsible for the accident is also responsible for the ensuing damages. Since damages are covered by insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover both their bills and the bills of the other driver. This will almost certainly lead to an increase in insurance premiums.
If the driver was guilty of illegal traffic offenses, it will be easier to prove their fault. This is especially true if law enforcement is involved. It will be an easy matter to explain to insurance companies that the driver was speeding, texting, etc. at the time of the accident. There will be a record of this offense, virtually proving their guilt. Once this documentation is reviewed by the insurance company, the at-fault driver will probably pay higher premiums going forward.
EFFECTS ON LAWSUITS
In a personal injury case, you often want to establish negligence on the part of the defendant. Your team must focus on what the other driver failed to do on the road, resulting in your injuries. Often, acts of negligence are also traffic violations. With police records alleging illegal behavior, it can be easy to prove this negligence in court.
If a defendant’s actions were illegal, it is possible to sue them for a “strict liability.” A strict liability case simply attempts to prove that the illegal activity took place. Imagine you were hit by a speeding driver. In a strict liability claim, you need only to prove that the speeding occurred to hold them accountable. However, this tactic could backfire. The court could rule that the defendant was indeed speeding, but their speeding was not the direct cause of your injuries. Work closely with your lawyer to see which claim you should file.
If you’ve been hurt by a driver who broke the law, reach out to us today for a free consultation. Our number is 918-492-7674, and you can contact us online.