What to do if my daughter received a ticket for not maintaining safe distance after rear-ending someone butwitnesses blamed the accident on another driver?

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What to do if my daughter received a ticket for not maintaining safe distance after rear-ending someone butwitnesses blamed the accident on another driver?

We are planning to go to court to get the ticket dismissed. Is it our responsibility to subpoena the witnesses and make sure they show up? In the case that it is dismissed, want to know how to then get our insurance not to raise our rates in blaming our daughter for the accident. The police have the information from the 2 witnesses and the lady who supposedly caused the accident.

Asked on February 26, 2012 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

Henry Lebensbaum / Law Office of Henry Lebensbaum

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whoever you want as a witness, it is your obligation to summons them into court.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The first part of your question is focues on the hearing:  In any type of case, if the other side has subpoenaed a witness, then you have the right to rely on the sub'.  If they have not subpoenaed a witness and you would like that witness to appear, then requesting and serving the sub' is your side's responsibility.  Some counties and jurisdictions have forms at the clerk's office that you can use to request a sub'.  Once the subpoena is prepared, then you can contact the local sheriff or a private process server to serve the sub'.  Try to get this going as quickly as possible if you are going to use the Sheriff.  They tend to have a higher number of subs' to serve-- and you want to make sure they have enough time to get to it.   If your witness is served, but does not show up like they are required, you can ask the court to issue a writ to make them show up or you can ask for a continuance to find out why they did not appear.  If you want your daughter's side of the case to more merit, getting a witness favorable to her side to appear is extremely important.  The second part of your question is about your daughter's insurance:  If the ticket is dismissed, some insurance companies will not increase rates.  However, even if the ticket is dismissed, but they had to pay out a claim (either for your daughter's vehicle or the other party's vehicle), then the insurance company may still increase the rates based on the payment of the claim, rather than the ticket.  As long as an insurance gives you notice, they can increase your rates-- even if it just because "everything is more expensive now."  It's a contractual relationship which can be renegotiated at various intervals.  If your company is insistent on increasing your daughter's rates, even with a discharge of liability, you may want to get the ticket dismissal finalized, then start shopping for a new insurance company. 


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