Car Crash? What Does it Mean When No One Is Ticketed

No One Got a Ticket After My Car Accident — Now What?

When you get into a car crash and there is vehicle damage or injuries, you have to call the police to come and file a report. And usually, someone is going to end up with a ticket and the blame.

Because New York is a no-fault state, you typically have to file a claim with your own insurance to get compensation for any injuries, regardless of who was at fault. However, if you suffer serious injuries, you will likely need more compensation than your PIP insurance provides. In those cases, you can file an injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Even if you aren’t injured, you’ll still need to determine who was at fault for the crash to know whose insurance, yours or the other driver’s, will be paying to repair your car.

So what happens if no one got a ticket? How do you know who is at fault, and whose insurance pays? Our blog explores this important question.

Reasons Why No One Was Written a Ticket

The two major reasons why no one could potentially receive a ticket after a collision are simpler than you might think.

  1. No laws were broken. Unfortunately, being a bad driver isn’t against the law. While crashes and collisions usually happen because someone was breaking traffic laws (speeding, driving under the influence, following too closely, and so on), they don’t always. Essentially, if there weren’t any traffic violations, there’s nothing to put on the ticket.
  2. The police couldn’t determine fault. Thousands of car crashes occur across the state every day, and police usually don’t have time to conduct a thorough investigation at the scene of a crash. If the police don’t witness a crash themselves, its cause is not immediately obvious, and if both drivers deny liability, they may not write a ticket.   

Does That Mean No One Was At Fault?

No. In a collision with two or more vehicles, someone is pretty much always at fault. It’s just a matter of determining who. And while police officers typically don’t investigate car crashes unless they involve severe injuries or a death, a good car accident lawyer can collect evidence that shows you were not at fault for your accident. Although a traffic ticket is one piece of evidence car accident attorneys can use to help prove liability, it’s not the only kind. Other types of evidence may include:

What Happens If I’m Found Partly At Fault?

New York has a “pure comparative negligence” law, which states that as long as you are not 100% responsible for the crash, you can still get compensation. But you can only collect up to the amount that you are not responsible.

For example, if you are ruled to be 40% responsible, then the amount of compensation you can get will be reduced by 40%. In other words, if your damages (vehicle repair costs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering) total $100,000, you cannot collect more than $60,000 in compensation.

This is why it’s so important to have an experienced lawyer on your side who can collect and present evidence to revise your degree of fault to be lower.

How to Gather Evidence After a Car Accident

Collecting evidence after a car accident can help to support your claim and determine who is really at fault, especially if no ticket was issued at the scene. Here are steps to help you gather the necessary evidence:

1. Take Photos and Videos

Immediately after the accident, use your smartphone to take clear photos and videos of the scene. Focus on capturing:

2. Exchange Information

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). Make sure to obtain:

3. Document Road Conditions and Hazards

Note any road conditions or hazards that might have contributed to the accident. This could include:

4. Collect Witness Statements

If there were any witnesses to the accident, approach them and politely ask for their contact information and a brief statement about what they saw. Witnesses can provide crucial third-party perspectives that support your version of events.

5. Write Down Your Own Account

As soon as possible, write down your own account of the accident while the details are still fresh in your mind. Include information such as:

6. Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s important to seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent. Your medical records can also serve as important documentation of your injuries, proving their severity and when and how they occurred. For that reason, keep all medical records and receipts related to your treatment, as they will be important for your claim.

7. Get a Copy of the Police Report

If the police were called to the scene, obtain a copy of the police report. This report can provide an official account of the accident and any initial findings on fault.

8. Check for Surveillance Cameras

Look around for any surveillance cameras that might have captured the accident. This could include traffic cameras, security cameras from nearby businesses, or residential security systems. Note their locations and inquire about obtaining the footage. A lawyer can help with this.

9. Consult a Car Accident Lawyer

Finally, consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. They can help you gather additional evidence, such as hiring accident reconstructions and other expert witnesses to provide testimony, and ensure that all necessary documentation is properly collected and preserved.

Need an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney?

The Syracuse car accident lawyers at Catalano Law has succeeded in many types of car accidents cases for our clients, including those were no one was issued a ticket at the scene and the at-fault driver denied all liability.

But Catalano Wins, and we do it through a combination of experience, pursuing evidence with determination, and a passion for helping people who need legal representation after crashes that upended their lives.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a wreck and was seriously injured, call our team today for a free case review.

Originally published April 19, 2021. Updated July 17, 2024.

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