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How Your Driving Record Can Affect Your Car Accident Claim


Navigating the legal complexities of a car accident claim can be overwhelming. One aspect that can potentially affect the outcome of your car accident claim is your driving record. Whether it is a history of speeding tickets, accidents, or other traffic violations, your driving record can play a vital role in determining liability and compensation.

Generally, however, the law in Ohio holds that evidence of prior bad acts, such as bad driving history, is not admissible to defend against your car wreck claim or to prove that you acted in accordance with your past driving history to cause the wreck. Ohio Rules of Evidence, R. 404, specifically states that “evidence of any other crime, wrong, or act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.

However, defendants may attempt to use exceptions to the general rule to use such evidence as a defense. For instance, such evidence is admissible for purposes of “proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.” Other instances where such evidence may be admissible include impeaching witness testimony where the individual claims they have a clean driving history, or to show an employer negligently hired an employee driver with a bad driving history.

While the above remains the law and holds true, one should anticipate the defense attempting to try to use such evidence to defend against your civil car wreck claim. That is why it is a good idea to consult an experienced car accident attorney if you have a poor driving record and get into an accident. What Is the Importance of Your Driving Record?

Your driving record reflects your driving behavior, which can influence a jury, judge, insurance adjuster, or defense attorney’s opinion of your actions related to your civil claim. This record contains information such as your previous involvement in accidents, traffic violations, and license suspensions. Insurance companies use driving records to determine insurance premiums. Usually, a clean record will result in lower premium rates..

The Impact Your Driving Record Can Have on Your Car Accident Claim

After suffering injuries in a car accident in Ohio, you can file a claim and recover compensation from the at-fault party. Your driving record should not prevent you from recovering compensation. However, the defendant’s insurer or attorney may attempt to use your driving record to shift the blame onto you. Your driving record may be used to assess your level of fault. If you have a history of traffic violations, it may be used to argue that you were at fault for your accident. If you are assigned a portion of the blame, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault as per the comparative negligence rule.

Your driving record may also be used to determine how much compensation you should recover. The at-fault party’s insurance company or attorney may use your driving history as leverage to negotiate settlement offers. A poor driving record may work against you, diminishing your credibility in the eyes of the defense side. A history of traffic violations or accidents can weaken your position and result in low compensation offers. On the other hand, a clean record may work in your favor. If you don’t have any prior violations or accidents, it may strengthen your credibility and increase your chance of receiving a fair settlement offer.

How To Mitigate the Negative Effects of Your Driving Record

An experienced car accident attorney can help you mitigate the negative effects of your driving record on your claim. An attorney can investigate the accident and collect evidence of the other party’s negligence. A skilled lawyer can combat any allegations insinuating that you are partially at fault for the accident.

Contact a Columbus Car Accident Attorney

If you are dealing with a car accident claim and are concerned about your driving record affecting the outcome of your case, contact our Columbus car accident attorneys at the law firm of Brian G. Miller CO., L.P.A., to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

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