Connecticut is a beautiful state – full of stunning fall foliage, charming small towns, and friendly people. But one downside to living in Connecticut is the high rate of car accidents.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Connecticut, you’re probably wondering how it will all be settled. Will you have to go to court? Will your case settle out of court? How long will it all take?
The answer to these questions depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of the accident
- The insurance coverage of the parties involved
- The willingness of the parties to negotiate
This blog post will look at how Connecticut car accidents are typically settled so you can better understand what to expect.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, drivers are required by law to report any car accident that results in at least $1,000 worth of property damage.
If you’re involved in such an accident, you have five days to notify the nearest law enforcement agency. The police will then file a report using a state-provided form.
It is advisable to contact a CT personal injury lawyer before taking this step. For example, if there is significant damage to your vehicle or you sustained injuries in the accident, you may seek legal counsel before talking to the police.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Connecticut?
Despite what you may see on TV, very few car accident cases go to trial. This is because going to trial is a big risk, and parties don’t want to spend the time and money on a trial unless they’re reasonably sure they’ll win. Most cases are settled out of court through negotiation between the parties involved.
In a typical Connecticut settlement, the person who caused the accident (the “defendant”) will agree to pay the person who was injured (the “plaintiff”) a certain amount of money.
The plaintiff will then agree to drop the case and not take it to trial. Once both parties have agreed to the settlement, it is binding.
Settlement ensures a guaranteed payout for the plaintiff, whereas going to trial does not. In addition, settlements can be reached much more quickly than trials, which can drag on for months or even years.
Connecticut does not require mandatory settlement conferences, but many courts encourage them. A settlement conference is a meeting between the parties and their attorneys, trying to agree on a settlement amount. The case will likely go to trial if the parties cannot agree.
Average Car Accident Settlement in Connecticut?
Determining a fair and reasonable amount for a car accident settlement in Connecticut is difficult because each case is unique.
Some accidents are more difficult to prove than others, which can also impact the settlement amount. Consult with an experienced CT personal injury attorney who can review your individual case and provide guidance on a fair settlement in your specific situation.
When determining what a fair settlement amount in your case would be, the parties and their attorneys will likely consider:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you suffered any permanent damage or disfigurement
- The amount of medical treatment you needed (and will continue to need)
- The effect your injuries have had (or will have) on your ability to work and earn an income
- The amount of lost wages you have incurred (or will incur) as a result of your injuries
- The cost of future medical care you may require due to your injuries
- Any property damage caused by the accident
- Any out-of-pocket costs you have incurred as a result of the accident
- The pain and suffering you have endured due to the accident
Steps that go into the settlement process for car accident cases in Connecticut
Car Accident Investigation
The first step in the settlement process is investigating the accident. The attorneys usually do this for both parties, but sometimes an independent investigator will be hired.
The purpose of the investigation is to gather evidence that can be used to prove who was at fault for the accident.
This evidence includes eyewitness testimony, photos or videos of the accident scene, and the police report.
Consultation with the Experts
After the accident has been investigated, the next step is to consult with experts. These experts can include medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, and life-care planners.
They will provide opinions on the extent of your injuries, the future cost of your medical care, and the effect your injuries will have on your ability to work and earn an income. This information is important in determining the value of your case.
Reviewing Insurance Policies
The next step is to review the insurance policies for both parties. This will determine how much coverage is available to pay for your damages.
In some cases, there may be multiple insurance policies that can be used to cover the damages.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident caused by a commercial truck, the trucking company’s insurance policy may provide coverage in addition to your own auto insurance policy.
Seeking a Car Accident Pre-law Suit Settlement
Your CT personal injury attorney will have many years of experience handling car accident claims and will be well-versed in the ins and outs of the settlement process.
They will also have a good idea of what your case is worth and will fight to get you the best possible settlement.
If your attorney believes the settlement offer is fair, they will likely advise you to accept it. However, if your attorney believes the offer is too low, they may recommend you seek a pre-lawsuit settlement.
Pre-lawsuit settlements are offers from the negligent driver’s insurance company made before a lawsuit is filed.
These offers are usually lower than what you would ultimately receive if your case went to trial, but they can still be beneficial because they allow you to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
If you and your attorney decide to seek a pre-lawsuit settlement, your attorney will likely send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining your injuries and damages and demanding a certain amount of money.
The insurance company will have a period to respond to the demand letter. Your attorney may file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer.
Filling a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you and your attorney decide to file a lawsuit, the first step will be to file a complaint with the court. This complaint will outline your injuries and damages and name the negligent driver as the defendant.
Once the complaint is filed, the summons will be served on the defendant. The defendant then has a certain period to file an answer to the complaint.
The Discovery Process
Once the answer is filed, the discovery process will begin. This is the process in which both sides exchange information and evidence.
The discovery process can be both formal and informal. Formal discovery methods include depositions, interrogatories, and requests for the production of documents. Informal discovery methods can include requests for admissions and informal interviews with witnesses.
The Trial Process
If your case does not settle during the discovery process, it will go to trial. Both sides will present their evidence and arguments to the jury during the trial.
The jury will then deliberate and reach a verdict. The negligent driver will be required to pay damages if you are awarded damages.
No two car accident cases are exactly alike, so consult with an experienced car accident attorney in Connecticut to discuss the specific facts of your case.
An experienced attorney can advise you of the best course of action and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Get help for a Connecticut Car Attorney Today
All car accidents are different, and so are the situations surrounding them. However, all claims stemming from a car accident will go through the same channels before being resolved.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a Connecticut car accident, understand how these cases work and how you can help your case.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can prove invaluable in this process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.