no ticket after crash

After a car crash, you’ll probably do three things: assess yourself for injuries, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, and call the police to file an accident report.

When the police arrive, they’ll take down information from both drivers, then typically write a ticket for whichever driver they judge to be at fault in the accident. However, that’s not always what happens.

If you were in an accident and called the police to file a report, but the police officer left without writing anyone a ticket, you may be stuck wondering whether you can still get compensation for your vehicle repairs and injuries.

Let’s go over why this situation happens, and what it means for you.

Why No One Gets a Ticket After a Collision

There are essentially two reasons why no one would be written a ticket after a collision.

  • No laws were broken. Tickets can only be written for traffic violations, and if no traffic violation was committed, no ticket will be written. Most crashes happen because a driver was doing something illegal, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or texting while driving. Unfortunately, not all dangerous driving behaviors are illegal.
  • The police couldn’t determine fault. In many crashes, there is enough obvious evidence for responding police officers to draw conclusions about what happened. For example, if two cars collided at a stop sign, the officer can typically conclude the driver with the damage to the front of their vehicle illegally failed to come to a stop, and is at fault for hitting the driver with the damage to the rear of their vehicle. However, not all wrecks are as cut-and-dried as this scenario.

Can I Still File a Lawsuit After a Crash Even if No One Got a Ticket?

Yes. Even if the person who caused your injuries wasn’t doing anything illegal, they can still be found negligent in a civil proceeding like a personal injury lawsuit.

For example, it’s not illegal in South Carolina to eat while driving. However, the standard for negligence is whether a “reasonable person” would recognize the behavior as dangerous and likely to cause harm. Many people eat while driving, but most people also know that taking a hand off the wheel to hold a burger purchased at a drive-thru makes them more likely to lose control of their vehicle.

A ticket is just one piece of evidence that the other driver was negligent, but it’s not the only piece of evidence that can be used. In fact, it may not even be necessary. An experienced auto accident attorney can help prove the other driver was negligent through a variety of evidence, including:

  • The police report
  • Testimony from witnesses or experts
  • Video footage from dash cams, traffic cams, or security cameras from nearby businesses
  • Physical evidence from the crash
  • Crash scene reconstructions

Can a Police Officer Write a Ticket Later if They Didn’t at the Crash?

Yes, while it may seem strange or even unfair, just because a police officer doesn’t write a ticket at the scene doesn’t mean no ticket will be written at all. Occasionally, police officers may seem to “let people go” after accidents or traffic stops without consequence, only for someone to later get a traffic citation in the mail.

Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys for Help

After a collision, someone is always going to be found at fault, even if no tickets were issued. However, when there is no ticket issued, it does make it harder to prove fault.

South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence law, which means both drivers could be found partially at fault for a crash. If you are found to be more than 50% responsible, you lose all rights to compensation. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced auto accident attorney on your side.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a wreck and seriously injured, call our team today for a free case review. Our South Carolina car crash attorneys can help prove you your case and ensure you get the compensation you need.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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