Is a History of Bad Driving Going to Hurt my MS Traffic Accident Claim?
If you are involved in an automobile accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover for your injuries. Filing against the responsible parties is just one option when seeking to recover for your injuries. But many people are hesitant to do so when they have a bad driving record, afraid that their past will be used to hurt their case. In these instances, it is important to know that a bad driving record may not matter at all and there are many other factors to consider.
Claims adjusters will work with your insurance company to keep the claims process moving. It is important to remember that they are employees of the insurance company and it is in the best interest of the company to reduce the number of claims paid out. The adjusters will review a number of factors in order to conclude the validity of your case and to determine if your claims should be paid. Factors a claim adjuster will review include:
- The police report;
- Medical records (if you sought medical attention);
- Pre-existing conditions, especially those claimed to have been worsened by the accident;
- Traffic citations, including DUI or DWI charges related to the incident;
- Statements made by you to other drivers and passengers;
- Witness testimonies; and
- Photographs of the accident or the immediate aftermath.
Prior Bad Acts Rule
According to the Mississippi Rules of Evidence, character evidence is not admissible to prove conduct except in certain cases. For the character of the accused, evidence is admissible if pertinent to the trait of their character. For the victim, prior conduct is generally not admissible unless it is evidence of a pertinent trait of character. While it is difficult to determine character in general terms, Rule 404 of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence outlines when character evidence is admissible.
According to the Mississippi Rule of Evidence, “character evidence may arise in three different ways: (1) when character is an issue in a case; (2) when the character of a witness is impugned for lack of veracity; and (3) when the character of a party is being used as the basis for an inference that he behaved in the instant as he did on prior occasions.”
Under the third case, it is possible for character evidence to be admissible if it is used to infer behavior. For instance, if you claim to be a great driver, your previous driving records may suddenly become admissible. All previous bad driving records can now be entered into evidence in an effort to counter the claim. The key here is that the evidence is not seeking to prove your negligence in a single case, but instead seeks to challenge your claim that you are indeed a good driver overall.
Note that the Mississippi Rules of Evidence govern only what evidence may be admitted into a court of law. Your past driving record may still be obtainable to the other parties and could still be used against you. It is important to have an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney on your side to assist you through this process.
Contact an Attorney for Personal Injury Auto Claims
Your driving history is just one factor that may arise in a personal injury claim arising from a traffic accident. Your past traffic history should have no bearing on whether or not you were at fault for a particular accident. Do not let your fear of a bad driving record keep you from getting the help and compensation that you need for a proper recovery. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy Guice in Biloxi, MS for total assistance in your personal injury claim. Attorney Guice has decades of experience fighting for the people of Mississippi in getting the compensation they need to continue on with their lives.