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Were you injured in an accident because another driver chose to disobey a traffic law? Have you lost your time, money, and health through no fault of your own? When another driver fails to obey a traffic law and harms you in an accident, they are responsible for compensating you for your injuries and other damages.

At Litster Frost Injury Lawyers, we hold careless drivers responsible for their actions. When a driver tries to deny fault, an insurance company disputes a valid claim, or insurance simply isn’t enough to cover the losses, we stand ready to fight for you. Call us now to learn more about the responsibilities that each driver has and how to hold reckless drivers responsible for the damages that they cause.

Failure to Obey and Building a Case

Police citations do not automatically establish fault or responsibility to pay for an accident. What the officer determines at the scene and the outcome of any traffic court proceedings is not binding in a personal injury claim. Even when a driver commits a technical violation of traffic law, that still might not be the cause of an accident. Instead, the plaintiff in an accident claim must show that the other driver did something unsafe to establish that driver’s negligence.

Failure to obey citations is important because they usually do involve safety. For example, speed limits might be lowered in high-accident areas, and stop signs make sure cars don’t suddenly turn out into oncoming traffic. If the citation is for safety, there’s now a neutral and trained third party saying that the driver acted unsafely, which makes proving fault in the accident easier.

What if the Police Officer Issued Me a Citation?


Often, the police have to make a determination based on what they see at a scene. The evidence might be limited to where the cars are damaged and a he-said-she-said between the two drivers. They may decide to cite both drivers and let a judge figure things out or they might feel sure that both drivers committed some sort of violation.

The fact that a police officer issued you a failure to obey or other citation does not make you responsible for an accident or prevent you from recovering from your injuries. Again, the citation must be related to a safety violation that caused the accident. Further, you have the right to try to demonstrate in court why a citation issued against you was incorrect. Finally, Idaho is a comparative negligence state which means that if you made a small mistake but the other driver was mostly responsible, you can still recover from that driver.

Failure to Obey

Idaho Statute 49-801 requires drivers to obey traffic control devices. Traffic control devices cover a wide range of road signs and other instructions to drivers including the following:


  • Stop signs.
  • Yield signs.
  • Traffic signals.
  • Speed limits.
  • Signs marking turn lanes or prohibiting turns.
  • Construction cones and other temporary barriers.
  • Temporary devices used by police officers, construction workers, and other authorized personnel to temporarily redirect traffic.

Some of these devices may also fall under specific laws such as failing to stop at a stop sign. Police officers often issue traffic citations or let people off with a warning at their own discretion. They may be trying to help a driver avoid points on their license or feel that getting into an accident was punishment enough. They may also feel that there isn’t enough evidence to back a specific charge or may simply make a mistake when choosing which citation to issue. Therefore, it’s important to understand that failure to obey is a wide-ranging catchall charge and that it’s necessary to establish the exact facts when trying to support an accident claim.

See If You Have a Case

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Comparative Negligence Rule


To schedule a consultation about your accident, call our office at (208) 333-3333 or fill out your case evaluation form now.

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