\\Insurance companies employ different tricks to minimize the value of a car accident settlement, including intimidating or pressuring the injured person (the plaintiff) into settling quickly. Implying that your driving record will prevent you from receiving compensation for this incident is just one of their tactics.
If you’re worried that a past speeding ticket or fender bender will prevent you from getting the compensation you need, let our skilled Florida car accident lawyers put your mind at ease.
How a driving record can affect an insurance settlement
Your driving record includes all moving violations and driving-related criminal traffic offenses you’ve received. Your record might also include prior accidents you’ve been involved in.
Although a spotty driving record doesn’t prevent you from filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or from filing a lawsuit for damages, the insurer is likely to use your driving record as a reason why your claim for compensation should be reduced or denied altogether.
History of dangerous driving
If you have any blemishes on your driving record, the insurer is likely to argue that you have a history of speeding, reckless driving, fail to follow traffic laws, or you’re overall negligent in your duties as a driver.
They can use this argument to have a larger percentage of fault assigned to you which could affect any compensation you might receive because Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state.
This means that both parties in the crash may be held responsible with a percentage of fault allocated to each party. A plaintiff’s settlement or jury award is reduced by the percent of fault they bear if they’re successful in their claim.
Injuries are from a prior accident
If you’ve been involved in prior accidents, regardless of who was at fault, the insurer will likely argue that the injuries you’re alleging in your claim were caused by a prior accident, not this accident. They can use this argument to try to get the damages awarded to you reduced because their insured wasn’t wholly responsible for your injuries.
You should disclose your entire driving record, including any criminal driving charges like DWI or reckless driving, to your Florida car accident lawyer so they can develop a strategy to argue against any possible arguments of your liability in the accident.
Your lawyer might want to take more proactive steps such as gathering more evidence to help build an even stronger case to increase your chances of success and recovery.
Arguing against an imperfect driving record
If there isn’t a lot of evidence in the case, then the defendant’s lawyer may argue that your past driving record indicates that you were probably speeding, driving under the influence, or you were otherwise a hazard on the road.
For example, if the only people in the car were you and the other driver, neither of you called the police to file a police report, and there aren’t any witnesses or video footage of the accident, the case can quickly turn into your word against theirs.
In a case like this, your lawyer will search high and low for any evidence that could be helpful in supporting your claim that the other driver is liable for your damages. Perhaps they might be able to obtain copies of redlight camera footage.
They might even be able to get copies of the other driver’s cell phone usage and data records to prove that the other driver was paying attention to their phone instead of the road, which led to them causing the accident.
If you were previously injured in a car accident or have an old injury that’s similar to the new injuries from the car wreck, then the insurance carrier may argue that your injuries weren’t from this car accident.
For example, if you broke your collarbone playing sports a few years ago and then suffered a similar injury in a car accident, the insurance company may argue that you’re attempting to claim compensation for an unrelated pre-existing injury.
Your lawyer can obtain copies of your historical medical records and other records such as photos or social media posts to prove that you fully recovered from any prior injuries and that those stated in your claim are new and were caused by the accident.
Are you concerned about receiving a fair settlement offer after a Florida car accident?
Have you been involved in a car accident but are worried that your past driving record will affect a settlement? We can help! Contact the experienced Florida car accident attorneys with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 for a free consultation. We have the resources and skills to litigate even the toughest cases.