I am being blamed for an accident that was the other guy’s fault.

I was driving on a motorcycle Northbound on Highway 19 in Florida. An SUV coming Southward made a U-turn at an intersection and pulled right out in front of me. I hit the brakes and my bike went down. I got pretty banged up and I broke a couple of ribs. Several people stopped to have a look and then a fire truck,the police and finally an ambulance showed up. Now I know I heard the other driver telling people that he had made a U-turn and did not see me coming. I can’t remember if any of the EMTs or police officers were there or he was just talking to the bystanders but I know he said it at least 3 times. After they took care of me in the emergency room and admitted me and got me in a room, a policeman showed up and gave me a citation. I asked him why and he said that the accident was my fault. I guess the other driver had changed his story and was now saying that he was driving straight up the highway and I just rear-ended him out of nowhere. I don’t know what kind of Investigation they did but it seems like they should have gotten my story. It seems that they are just taking his word for it and not even asking me. The thing is I would like to fight this because I know I am in the right. But I am on SSI and cannot afford

a lawyer. Any ideas?

Asked on December 20, 2017 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The only way to fight a ticket is in court: you can't make the other driver change his story or the officer take back or modify the ticket. All you can do is go to court on the ticket trial date, speak to the prosecutor and tell him/her your version; then if the prosecutor wants to proceed or go ahead on the ticket and you still want to fight it, tell your story to the judge in open court under oath. You can also present any other testimony or evidence (e.g. if there other witnesses who support your version); and the prosecutor will present his/her evidence showing that you were careless (e.g. the testimony of the other driver); the judge will then decide what most likely happened.
Note that if you want a trial, assume you'll have to go to court at least twice: the first scheduled day to speak to the prosecutor then plead guilty, and then come back again for the actual trial. When you talk to the prosecutor, however, he or she may (rarely) decide to dismiss the charges; or (more likely) may offer you a plea to a lesser offense (fewer points and/or a small fine). If offered a favorable plea, you are encouraged to take it: as stated, going to trial takes more time and you are never sure of the outcome.


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