Being injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence can be frustrating, especially as the accident victim goes through the process of seeking the compensation they need to cover the medical costs and other damages associated with the accident. Those with past run-ins with the law may hesitate to file a personal injury claim, because they are unsure of how their criminal record might play out in court.
Missouri residents can rest assured knowing it is likely their past criminal record may not come out in court at all in a personal injury case. The past can only be brought up if it is directly linked to the case at hand. Therefore, if someone has been hurt at work, their DUI conviction of 15 years ago will most likely have no bearing on the case.
However, it might come up if the accident victim is also taking the stand as a witness. The other side might bring up one’s past convictions as a way to question the witness’s credibility on the stand. This can affect one’s case, as juries have an unfortunate tendency to see convicted individuals in a certain light and overlook the facts of the current case. Regardless of how small the conviction may seem, such as a speeding ticket, it can also be used to demonstrate that the person has the tendency to speed and to hide the truth from others. In this manner, the other side may be able to discredit the accident victim’s testimony.
Again, this does not mean one should not pursue the case to get the compensation they deserve. There are tactics one can use to keep their criminal record out of court, such as asking for a trial by a judge or getting certain records expunged before going on trial. Knowing one’s options can be a great place to start.