Can a Past Driving Conviction Hurt My Car Crash Claim?

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Feb 22, 2022 in Car Accidents

close-up image past driving conviction ticketThere are many different factors that can hurt the outcome of a car crash claim. For instance, what if you have a history of driving convictions? Can you still seek compensation if you are injured in a car crash? Can the at-fault party use your past driving history against you in court?

Past driving convictions are just one of many complications injured victims could face after a car crash. Having a knowledgeable and qualified attorney on your side may greatly benefit you.

Goldberg Finnegan discusses this complicated topic, including how a past traffic violation may or may not impact a claim.

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How a Prior Driving Conviction May Impact a Car Crash Claim

Past driving convictions remain on your driving record for two years or until the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) removes it.

In Maryland, a prior driving conviction will not, on its own, automatically bar you from filing a claim. However, having past convictions, such as for a DUI, could certainly complicate your case. Here are some critical facts to know about if you have prior convictions in your driving history.

Can You File an Injury Claim?

Maybe. Simply having one or more prior driving convictions does not take away your right to seek compensation after a crash. It also does not cancel the at-fault driver’s duty of care to you. If another’s negligence caused your injuries and other losses, you may still have a claim.

That said, it is best to speak with a qualified attorney about your situation. Every case is different, so there may be other factors that could help or hurt your chances of recovering compensation.

For instance, what if any of these statements are true in your situation?

  • The at-fault driver in your crash has a prior driving conviction on his or her record
  • Your actions or inactions may have contributed in some way to the car crash
  • The other driver received a citation for the crash that caused you to suffer harm

If you have a prior driving record and are unsure if you have a claim, we are ready to help. Our Silver Spring car crash lawyers have extensive experience helping injury victims recover maximum compensation.

Are Prior Driving Convictions Admissible in Court?

In Maryland, the law does not generally allow prior convictions to be admitted as evidence for an injury claim. For example, what if you have a prior DUI conviction but did not contribute to or cause this crash? Your record cannot be used to try to make you seem at fault just because of a prior driving conviction.  

What if the Driver Tries to Hide or Lie About a Prior Record?

During the discovery process of a car crash claim, both sides will be asked a lot of questions, called interrogatories. Part of this process commonly includes asking about prior accidents and driving convictions.

You may wonder why, if prior records are not admissible in court, these questions matter. However, attorneys often ask questions as part of a bigger strategy to help their clients.

For example, what if the plaintiff (injury victim) has a prior driving conviction but lies about it when asked. Let us also say the plaintiff further claims to have a clean driving record. A fairly simple investigation of these claims will very quickly turn up the truth.

Unfortunately for the plaintiff, lying in this way is extremely damaging to a car crash case. It opens the door for the defendant’s attorney to present that prior conviction record in court. This record, while not used to show fault, helps to paint a picture of the plaintiff’s lack of credibility.

What Can Injured Crash Victims Do if They Have a Past Driving Conviction?

If you have a past driving conviction and are involved in a crash you did not cause, you may still have legal options.

Steps You Can Take to Help Any Valid Claim You May Have

  • Consider seeking legal help right away: Often, calling an attorney even before calling the insurance company is a good idea, especially when a case is complicated. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to make mistakes that could hurt your ability to seek compensation.
  • Be sure your attorney knows about your driving record up front: Being completely honest with your attorney is better than him or her finding something damaging later.
  • Be honest with the defendant about your driving conviction: Again, being up front about your driving record is better than if you try to cover it up. Your attorney will help guide you with the appropriate time and way to share this information.

There is no doubt having even one prior driving conviction can complicate a car crash case. However, trying to cover it up will only backfire and cause you to lose credibility. In any injury claim, credibility is a key factor. Unfortunately, once damaged, recovering lost credibility is challenging, at best. Having little to no credibility can significantly damage the outcome of your claim.

Injured in a Crash But Unsure if You have a Claim? Call Our Firm for Legal Help

At Goldberg Finnegan, we understand that people make mistakes. For instance, perhaps you have a prior driving conviction but have not had any repeat violations.

Call our firm today for a free initial consultation about your potential injury claim. Learn if you have a claim and get answers to your questions by speaking with a qualified attorney.

There are zero upfront costs and no obligation to hire our services after this meeting.  Call our firm 24/7 to learn more. Car crash claims have filing deadlines, so we recommend that you do not wait to call an attorney.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (888) 213-8140

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