If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and are considering pursuing a personal injury claim, you may wonder if your driving record could hurt your chances of winning your claim or lawsuit. But do all accidents show up on your driving record? The short answer is that having blemishes on your driving record shouldn’t stop you from pursuing compensation. It’s best to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can give you advice based on your exact situation.
Do All Accidents Show Up on Your Driving Record?
Laws regarding accident reports and records may vary from state to state. In Maine, for example, if you are in a crash, it will go on your driving record no matter who was at fault. Crashes must be reported in Maine if they cause injury or death or what appears to be at least $1,000 of property damage.
Can the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Use Your Driving Record Against You?
Under Maine law, if you and the other driver were at fault for the accident, then your compensation will be reduced according to how much you were responsible for the accident. You can still recover partial compensation as long as the other driver’s fault was greater than yours.
Insurance companies want to pay out as little as they can get away with. So, when you file a personal injury claim against a negligent driver, that driver’s insurance company will be motivated to try to show the accident was partially your fault. If you have a poor driving record, they may try to use that to say that you are a reckless driver. This is one good reason for you to consult with a lawyer. What insurer adjusters may or may not know – and certainly will not tell you – is that the law strictly limits what evidence of “prior bad acts” or “character traits” can be used against you. In other words, the law recognizes that just because you have had accidents or made mistakes in the past, that does not necessarily mean you were at fault in a later accident. Because it would be too prejudicial to use such evidence against you without some clear and relevant link to the accident at issue, it is likely to be kept out of court and should not weigh in the negotiation of your claim.
A lawyer can help evaluate whether or not a prior accident has any pertinence on your existing claim. For example, one reason why a previous accident could be related to your current case is if the previous accident caused injuries to the same part of your body that was injured later. Defendants or insurance adjusters may try to say that your injuries were from those earlier accidents, not the ones that happened more recently. Once again, this is a good reason to team up with a lawyer. That is because the law fairly recognizes that you should be compensated for the amount that an accident aggravated or worsened your prior injury, and a good personal injury attorney will know how to use your medical records to demonstrate just how badly a second accident set you back.
What Can You Do If You Have Prior Accidents or Moving Violations on Your Driving Record?
You should not let your driving record discourage you from pursuing a personal injury case. Although the other driver’s insurance company may try to use your record against you, an experienced personal injury lawyer can defend your rights and push back against the insurance company’s attempts to avoid payment. Everyone’s case is unique, with many different factors coming into play. You should never give up without knowing whether you have a good case. There is too much to lose.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Garmey Law
The personal injury legal team at Garmey Law can find facts surrounding your accident and let you know if you have a good case for pursuing compensation, considering your entire situation, including your driving record. Call us at (207) 481-4683 or contact us through our website for a free consultation.