Andrew L. Watson

Car Accidents & Municipal Court

A driver racing down the road slams into the rear of your car while you are stopped at a red light. Your injuries require a visit to the emergency room and follow-up care for whiplash. The culprit is ticketed for speeding and careless driving. You are notified, not subpoenaed, as a witness for the court hearing of those tickets in municipal court. What do you do?

Since you were not subpoenaed, there is no obligation to attend the municipal court hearing. If you do decide to attend the court hearing, here are some tips to guide you through the proceeding.

First and foremost, and if you remember only one thing from this article, do not testify about the car accident at the municipal court proceeding. There is absolutely no advantage to providing testimony at this hearing. For purposes of any civil lawsuit against the other driver, fault has already been established because the car accident involved a rear end hit and nothing will change this. Any testimony you provide in municipal court would be admissible in any future civil personal injury lawsuit and could potentially harm your car accident case because you cannot control the questions asked by the defendant’s attorney or the municipal prosecutor.

Second, tell the municipal prosecutor you were injured in the car accident and the extent of those injuries. Ask the prosecutor not to cut any deals with the defendant because the defendant was clearly at fault for a car accident causing injuries. If the prosecutor asks you whether you will testify, refer to tip number 1.

Third, if the municipal judge asks to hear from you at the defendant’s sentencing, simply inform the judge of the nature and extent of your injuries from the car accident. You may also tell the judge that the car accident involved a rear end hit. Keep it short and simple; do not offer details and the judge will not press you for any.

If you stick to the simple rules above, you will have no trouble navigating municipal court. However, if you are subpoenaed to testify at any trial of the defendant’s traffic tickets, it is best to consult an attorney for advice. Come see a lawyer at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman and we will assist you in responding to the subpoena.

Learn more about:  Car Accidents and Municipal Court

Managing Partner

Andrew L. Watson

Labor & Employment, Commercial Law & Litigation, Appeals, Municipal Court, Estates & Trusts Litigation

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