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Not so fast in coming to a conclusion as conclusive as that! It is true that statutes, also referred to as the rules of the road, establish a fixed standard of conduct, by which the fact of negligence may be determined. When a person violates a statute which establishes the standard of care in a given situation, that violation of law is called Negligence Per Se.
The Idaho Civil Jury Instruction for Negligence Per Se provides:
“There was a certain statute in force in the state of Idaho at the time of the occurrence in question which provided that: (quote statute)
A violation of the statute is negligence.”
However, the law also allows a person to explain defenses or reasons why liability should not be construed against them as a matter of law simply because they violated the statute. Some of these defenses are:
Compliance was impossible;
Something over which the party had no control placed the individual in a position of violation of the statute;
An emergency, not of the party’s own making, caused the individual to fail to obey the statute; or
An excuse specifically provided for within the statute existed.
Additional food for thought is the fact that sometimes citations are written in error. The investigator may not have understood the applicable law for the given situation or perhaps did not fully understand the facts leading up to the collision.
Furthermore, sometimes people pay citations just to avoid the hassle and headache of having to deal with the courts, taking time off, etc. The law allows a party to explain away their payment of a citation as being done as a matter of convenience, even though they feel they really were innocent of the given charge. However, if there was a court trial on the citation and a conviction was entered, the ability to establish Negligence Per Se and liability becomes much easier. Make sure to immediately contact a car accident lawyer for help after you've been involved in any type of car accident.