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Someone rear ended me. They are pleading not guilty. Already settled with their insurance. Should I testify?

Aurora, IL |

I was sitting at a red light when a driver hit me. They admitted fault to me and their insurance. I already settled with their insurance company who paid for the value of my car. Now I received a letter that they are pleading not guilty to the charges. Since I already settled with insurance and wasn't injured is there any reason for me to appear and testify that they were at fault? I'm not interested in making sure they suffer legal penalty, I was paid for my car and as far as i'm concerned everything is ok. If I don't appear and the charges against them are dismissed does that open an opportunity for their insurance company to change their mind, reopen the claim and demand money back?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. Best answer

    If you care whether or not this person is found guilty for violating the traffic laws and gets a mark on his driving record, then you should go and testify. If you don't care, don't go. In most traffic cases, if the witness isn't interested in testifying, the prosecutor will drop the charges. However, there are some cases where the prosecution has a particular interest in proceeding. Sometimes this has to do with the defendant's history or other circumstances. If the prosecution makes a point of asking you to cooperate you should, and if they subpoena you, then you must.

    I hope that helps.

    Steven A. Sigmond
    Law Office of Steven A. Sigmond
    345 N. Canal #1208
    Chicago, IL 60606
    (312) 756-1186

    Steven A. Sigmond offers confidential fee consultations to anyone who has been injured in an accident or hurt at work. However, a free consultation is not legal advice. This answer is general information and should not be considered "legal advice." Proper legal advice can only be obtained after hiring an attorney and providing full information regarding your case.

  2. If you settled, have no injuries, and have no interest in penalizing this person, you have no reason to show up. If you signed a release and the case is settled, or if you cashed a check, you're done.
    Only helps if they plead guilty, which can be used in a civil case as an admission of fault.
    No reason to in your case from what you are saying. Guess you have a free day...unless you want to go to work!

    Good luck.

    Stephen L. Hoffman
    Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
    Chicago, IL

    This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.

  3. Yes, you should cooperate with the prosecution of the traffic case. The driver may have a history of causing accidents or otherwise poor driving--if you don't show up, the traffic case will be dismissed and won't be reopened. Even if this is the only accident they have ever been in, the prosecutor will likely be lenient and offer them what is called "court supervision," which does not result in a conviction of record--so the "legal consequences" are not that harsh (but he/she will be held responsible). If you show up, you probably won't have to testify, as your mere presence usually induces a plea negotiation.
    As far as the insurer is concerned, if they have already paid, it would be highly unusual to attempt to rescind their payment to repair your car. Typically, this would require some showing of fraud or mistake in the inducement to their agreement to pay.

    Please note that any answers provided on by Christopher M. Kennedy are for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. Before agreeing to any client engagement, we must run a conflicts check and agree in writing to serve as your attorney. Please do not publish or email any information that discloses personal information or details about your case; if you wish to email us, please simply send your contact information and a general statement about the type of matter you would like us to review. Note that you will not be a client of our firm or Mr. Kennedy unless and until you sign a client representation agreement or you receive a written statement from us confirming that we represent you (an "engagement letter"). Thank you for your interest in the Law Office of Christopher M. Kennedy, P.C.

  4. Unless you are subpoenaed to testify, you are not required to go to court.

  5. No need unless you receive subpoena.

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