In a personal injury action, you are not entitled to compensation unless you can prove that the other driver was negligent or “at fault” for the collision.
Following a car accident, it is common that one of the parties will be charged by the police with either a Highway Traffic Act or Criminal Code offence. The resolution of these charges will affect the outcome of the liability portion of your car accident claim.
People often elect to pay a small $100.00 traffic fine rather than hire a lawyer or paralegal to fight the charges. However, pleading guilty to traffic charges will affect your personal injury claim – so be very careful.
In the Superior Court decision of Caci v. MacArthrur, the Court found that if a party to a lawsuit is convicted of a criminal offence in relation to the collision, that person is considered to have made a negligent act with respect to a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, if you plead guilty to a Highway Traffic Act offence from your accident, and then start a lawsuit alleging the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you would be barred from arguing that you were not at least partially at fault for the collision.
As you can see, careful consideration of how you deal with any form of criminal or Highway Traffic Act charge should be made before entering any plea. You should always consult a lawyer and determine how pleading guilty will affect both your criminal and civil case.
Another example of how criminal and civil actions intersect can be found in the decision of R. v. Nedulcu. The Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment in Nedulcu highlights what can happen when inconsistent evidence is provided under oath in different proceedings.
In Nedulcu, the Court ruled that evidence provided under oath at Examination for Discovery in a civil case can be used to impeach your credibility on cross examination in a criminal trial. While this decision was focused on specific evidentiary rules in the criminal context, what you need to know is that evidence provided under oath can have far reaching affects. We at Preszler Law Firm LLP will help you navigate the potential landmines that can significantly impact your rights.