Does Prior Driving History Comes Into Play in Auto Accident Lawsuits?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2014 | Firm News


If you are injured in a car accident, you may want to pursue legal action to obtain money damages for your injuries. In some cases, the claim will be settled out of court with an insurance settlement. In other cases, the insurance settlement may not adequately compensate you for your injuries and you will choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. As with any lawsuit, a personal injury lawsuit involves the introduction of evidence and testimony regarding the accident, injuries, and other applicable information. Many auto accident victims worry about whether their prior driving history can be used against them in an auto accident lawsuit. Generally, prior traffic violations and prior accidents fall under the “bad acts” rule, which means that prior driving history cannot be introduced as evidence in the current case. This rule applies to both the plaintiff and the defendant. The logic behind this rule is that a person’s prior history should not have a bearing on their conduct in this special instance. There are some circumstances under which prior driving history may be introduced in a personal injury lawsuit, however. For instance, if the party testifies that he or she has a clean driving record, the door has been opened for the other side to introduce rebuttal information to the contrary. Another exception to the “bad acts” rule is if the defendant was driving while on the job, such as delivery driver. In these cases, the employer may be sued as a co-defendant for negligent hiring. If this is the case, evidence about the driver’s unsafe driving history could be introduced as evidence to show that the employer knew or should have known that the driver was unfit to safely operate a vehicle on the job. Finally, evidence of prior driving history may come into play if the defendant’s driving record includes a felony conviction, such as a felony DUI or vehicular manslaughter.

Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer

The specific laws and procedures regarding evidence in an auto accident lawsuit or other personal injury lawsuit vary from state to state, so it is important to contact a car accident who is familiar with the laws of your jurisdiction. Moreover, filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver requires submitting several documents with the court, which has strict procedural requirements that must be met in order to maintain a lawsuit. At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our car accident lawyers have significant experience advocating for clients who have been injured in Illinois automobile accidents. We will help you understand your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Contact us at(800) 784-0150 to learn more about how we can help you following your Illinois car accident.   Additional Information:

  • When to Accept Insurance Settlement and When to Sue
  • What to Do If You Are Injured as a Passenger in an Auto Accident
  • Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer after a Car Accident

  Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.


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