Often in automobile-injury cases, I hear complaints from outraged clients along these lines:
Why can’t I use the fact that the defendant was driving on a suspended driver’s license in my car-crash injury case? It’s not fair. I was the innocent victim. He was breaking the law the moment he got behind the wheel, just like a drunk driver. But I am told that since his driving on a suspended operator’s permit did not CAUSE the crash with my truck, we cannot mention it at trial. What’s up with this? He got a ticket in Traffic Court but now he gets away with it in the civil case.
It does seem outrageous, doesn’t it? After all, the other driver lost his license for a reason, right? Or multiple reasons – reckless driving, speeding, driving while impaired, failing to pay tickets, drunk driving, causing other crashes. Isn’t it only fair that all that information be allowed in court to show that the defendant was likely to cause your crash?
Unfortunately, "likely" is not the key word here. The key word is causation.
In tomorrow’s post, we will talk about "causation" and why the trial judge will not usually allow evidence of the Defendant’s "Driving on a suspended license" or "Driving without a license" into evidence for the jury’s consideration. An experienced personal injury trial lawyer will be able to explain what evidence will be allowed in Court and what facts will not be permitted before the jury.