The vast majority of accidents happen because someone violated the rules of the road. These rules are well established, and every motorist is charged with knowing them along with all of the criminal laws pertaining to safe driving such as DUI. In other words, ignorance is not a viable defense.
When police officers receive a communication reporting a motor vehicle accident, the responding officer will investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash. The severity of the crash might require a specialist in accident investigation and reconstruction to begin an investigation. On the other hand, most accidents do not need an officer with specialized training to investigate. In either case, the officers will examine the accident scene, witness statements, statements from those involved in the accident, and the damage to the cars among other evidence if it is available to determine what happened and why. The investigating officer may issue a traffic ticket or criminal charges if the evidence supports that decision.
Evidence that a person received a ticket or faced criminal charges will not necessarily assist the accident victim. However, a plea of guilty to a civil infraction or criminal charge or a guilty finding on those charges will help the injured accident victim prove his or her case. Illinois law allows the plaintiff in a personal injury case to show the driver acted negligently because a judge or jury found him or her guilty of the charge. If the other driver pleads to or was found guilty of the civil or criminal charges relating to the cause of an auto wreck, then the plaintiff can use that as evidence instead of proving fault by recreating the accident.
This rule, known as negligence per se, helps plaintiffs focus on proving the accident caused their injuries without worrying about proving the other driver breached a duty of care.