If you were injured in an auto accident but did not see the police issue a ticket at the scene, that does not mean one won’t be issued later. A traffic citation can be written up and issued days later, either because the police officer at the scene needed to review evidence or the other party filed a report after the fact.
Reporting an Accident does not Automatically Assign Fault
Most states, including Louisiana, require people involved in traffic accidents to report the crash “immediately” and “by the quickest means of notification” if the accident causes injury or more than $500 worth of property damage (RS Art. §32:398). This leaves little room for interpretation as to when to report an accident to the cops.
However, reporting an accident doesn’t mean you will know who is assigned fault right then and there. The police and emergency services’ priority is to ensure everyone is safe and receives care, and that traffic returns to normal. After that, the officer will take stock of the events and determine who violated a traffic law, possibly earning them a ticket. They might review:
- Traffic camera footage
- Witness statements
- Driver statements
- Photos of the scene
- Traffic conditions and weather
Understandably, some of this information gathering takes time. Once the officer is confident that they understand what happened, they will issue a traffic citation by mail to the responsible party.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
More Complicated Crashes Mean More Time Before a Ticket is Issued
Complex accident scenarios may mean a ticket (or tickets) take several days. These may be accidents involving:
- Multiple vehicles
- Few or no witnesses
- Both drivers violating laws
- Unclear traffic cam footage
- Conflicting accounts
For example, if you were involved in a four-car collision on the highway and are unsure what happened, a police officer is unlikely to know right away either.
Drivers are also Required to File Reports
Louisiana law requires drivers to submit a written report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS) after an accident. You may be required to do this if the accident involved:
- Injury or death
- Property damage exceeding $100
The deadline for submitting this written report is 24 hours after the crash.
Why are Tickets Important in Your Accident Claim?
If you were injured in an accident, having a police report with a ticket issued against the other party can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Personal injury in automobile accidents relies on proving that the other driver acted in a way that caused the accident and your injuries.
Police paperwork creates an official paper trail that can support your claim by establishing:
- The chain of events that led to the crash
- Traffic laws the other party broke
- Contributing factors
- Witnesses who are willing to speak about the crash
- Resulting damage and injuries
In other words, a police report and citation can be the first document in your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, a foundation on which we can help you build your case.
Traffic Citations Help Establish Fault
Louisiana is a pure comparative fault state—liability for an accident divides among all parties involved (CC §2323). Having a ticket issued against a driver can help with that division of fault, highlighting who contributed more to the accident and your injuries.
For instance, if you were changing your music when a driver ran a red light and hit you, your distraction could mean you are partially at fault. Your compensation will be reduced by your level of fault. Our team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can use tickets and police reports to underline how the fault breaks down. Reporting an accident protects you from a fine and protects your right to pursue compensation.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
If you are worried that no ticket has been issued or are unsure how the police are involved in your automobile accident, you can contact our team. Our personal injury lawyers can:
- Obtain police reports
- Check with witnesses
- Determine liability
- Gather evidence
You can contact our firm at any point in your case if you have questions. We offer a free consultation so that you can better understand your position.
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Call the Attorneys at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers with Your Car Accident Questions
If you are unsure who will receive a ticket and when after an accident, contact our team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers at (337) 777-7777. Even if you are concerned you will be cited in an accident, you may still be able to pursue damages for your injuries. Call us now to learn more.