Being involved in a car accident is among the most terrifying things that can happen to a person. It can also be stressful, especially if you are injured. There's medical bills to think about, in addition to lost wages, among other losses. Anytime money is involved, an insurance company will attempt to settle before you can even think of asking a lawyer for their opinion.
There's a lot to consider, so there's usually an immediate effort to identify the at-fault party. However, oftentimes, the liability may be shared by both parties. How is the liability measured? Am I more to blame than the other motorist? Can I file a claim for losses or injuries sustained in these situations?
All of these questions carry valid concerns. We will try our best to clarify these circumstances, but if you still have questions, contact a car accident lawyer in Connecticut. They will be knowledgeable and can answer many of your questions and point you in the right direction.
Connecticut is an "At-Fault" State
Connecticut is a fault state, otherwise known as a "tort" state, which means it requires the insurance company of the at fault driver to cover the costs of the other driver's injuries. Both the police and the insurance companies examine a number of factors to determine who is at fault, and the other driver's damages are then covered by the at-fault driver's insurance.
Drivers can share "fault" too. For instance, if one driver is found to be 20% at fault for an accident while the other driver bears 80% of the blame, then both share fault. However, the driver with 80% fault cannot collect compensation. We will explain this later.
Shared Fault in Connecticut and Why It's Important?
Shared fault is very important. It will determine how much compensation you are entitled to if you are awarded damages in a car accident or personal injury case. In a state like Connecticut, both parties can share fault. However, there are limits to how much liability you have in an accident and still collect compensation.
Connecticut follows a modified version of comparative negligence law. In a state that follows comparative negligence, the plaintiff is entitled to compensation even if they are at-fault partially. In the modified version, the plaintiff must be no more than 50% at fault for the injury in order to be eligible for any damages in a Connecticut personal injury case or car accident case. The monetary award is modified by the degree of fault and will be reduced appropriately. If a jury awards you $100,000 in damages for a car accident, but determines that you contributed 30% to your injuries because you improperly used your turn signal, you would be entitled to $70,000 in damages. This is "limited" comparative negligence. In this specific scenario: $100,000 minus 30%.
In the aforementioned example, the judge or jury decides the level of each party's negligence and allots a portion of the overall damages sustained to each party based on each party's relative liability for the injury.
Under Connecticut's negligence law, you wouldn't be able to receive any compensation if you were found to be 51% at fault.
How is Fault Assigned in Connecticut?
Determining fault in Connecticut can seem arbitrary. It's unclear how the insurance adjuster determines whether a person was 21% or 29% at fault. For the insurance company, every percentage point counts since it results in a lower payment under the state's modified comparative negligence criteria.
To establish which side owes money for their damages, the details of the accident are examined and assessed. A few of the most important details insurance companies will review are:
- Police report
- Evidence: This could include photographs of the scene and vehicle damage, as well as the location of traffic signs and any other relevant items.
- Witness testimonies
Fault assignment can be temporary as the case progresses too, especially if drivers are not careful about what they say and do after a crash. Let's say another driver ran a red light and struck you in an intersection. They're at fault, right? Yes, but then you tell the insurance company you didn't see the other driver coming and didn't have time to react. Because of this statement, some fault may be assigned to you if they argue that the accident could have been avoided if you had been paying attention. This is why you shouldn’t engage with an insurance company until you have consulted with a lawyer. Doing so without the advice of a legal expert could prove costly.
Involved in a Car Accident in Connecticut and Have Questions? Call Us Now For Help
If you were harmed in a car accident that was the fault of another driver, you should contact a CT car accident lawyer straight away. The team at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law can help you obtain the financial compensation you are entitled to and can help figure out who was at fault. If you have any doubts, calling a legal professional for assistance will help your situation tremendously. Let us handle the intricacies and filing of your claim while you focus on healing.
Call us right now for a free consultation. We can be your Connecticut car accident lawyers.