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What Are the Laws for Filing a Connecticut Personal Injury Case

What Are the Laws for Filing a Connecticut Personal Injury Case

Personal injury lawsuits are filed to cover things like car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and more. Essentially, if you are in an accident that is caused by another party or entity, you likely have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in Connecticut.

While this is true, there are specific laws you must abide by in the state when filing a personal injury claim. Due to how complex the law can be, it’s recommended you work with a personal injury attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to ensure you know what laws you must follow and to help you recover the most compensation for your accident and injuries.

Related Article: What does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Time Limits on Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits in Connecticut

The statute of limitations in Connecticut is two years. This means you must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident and injury.

It is important to know this deadline because if you fail to file your lawsuit within this two-year window, you lose the right to do so.

It’s important to note that there is an exception to this rule. For example, if you file a personal injury claim against a government entity, the county or city must be notified of your intention to sue within six months. Additionally, you have just one year to notify the State Claims Commissioner to file a claim against the state.

Understanding Comparative Fault

You will likely file an insurance claim or a lawsuit to receive compensation for your damages and injuries. However, the person the claim is filed against may state that you were fully or partially responsible for the accident you were injured in.

The state of Connecticut uses “comparative fault.” This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced.

An example of how this works is:

You drive several miles per hour over the posted speed limit and go through an intersection.
Another driver has run the red light at the intersection you are moving through and hits you.
Eventually, you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident, and the other driver is 90% at
fault. 

Based on the modified comparative fault rule used in Connecticut, the 10% of fault you are responsible for will be what your damages are reduced by. For example, if your total compensation were awarded at $20,000, then it would be reduced by your percentage of fault. In this case, 10% or $20,000. You would receive $18,000 instead of $20,000. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will not be eligible to receive compensation.

In Connecticut, the courts must apply the comparative fault rule for injury lawsuits that go to trial. It’s also possible for insurance adjusters to bring up comparative fault during the settlement negotiations. Because of this, it’s smart to discuss this with your Connecticut personal injury attorney and be prepared for the outcome.

Related Article: What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Specific Laws Related to Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut

Different types of accidents may have different laws or statutes that you must follow. Some of these are found here.

Understanding Car Insurance Laws in Connecticut

Connecticut is considered a “fault” state regarding auto insurance. If you are injured in a car accident, you have a few options to pursue compensation.

  • File an insurance claim with your provider
  • File an insurance claim with the other driver’s provider
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in Connecticut civil court

Dog Bite or Dog Attack Cases and Strict Liability

In several states, dog owners have some degree of protection from injury liability the first time their dog causes harm to someone if there is no reason to believe the dog is dangerous. Usually, this is called the “one bite” rule. In the state of Connecticut, though, there’s a statute – Connecticut General Statute 22-357 – that states the owner is “strictly liable.” Under this rule, it doesn’t matter how the dog has acted in the past; the owner is responsible for any injuries the dog causes.

Understanding Damage Caps in Connecticut Personal Injury Cases

In some situations, damages are capped (limited) for personal injury cases. Every state has unique rules regarding the types of injuries or harm subject to these caps.

In Connecticut, though, there are no damage caps for personal injury cases. This is true for both economic and non-economic damages. Also, Connecticut allows punitive damages for medical malpractice cases, but these amounts are limited to the true costs of the case and your attorney’s fees.

Related Article: What Makes a Connecticut Personal Injury Case Complex?

First Steps to Take After Suffering an Injury in Connecticut

If you are involved in an accident where you are injured, check for injuries first. If it is a car accident, it’s also a good idea to check on others involved. Even if you don’t feel like you are injured, you should seek medical attention. You may have an injury that takes time to appear.

After everyone, including you, is safe, you should start documenting the accident. For example, if you slipped and fell while shopping in a store, you could take pictures of where you fell and note any type of dangerous conditions in the area. Be sure you get a copy or any other accident record from the store where it happened and keep track of the injuries. You should also keep copies of medical tests and your doctor’s recommended treatment.

Determining Liability in a Connecticut Personal Injury Case

Determining liability in personal injury cases depends on where and how your injuries happened. Generally, everyone is expected to act with a certain level of reasonable care, and failure to do this means they could be held responsible for paying compensation to the injured party.

Usually, personal injury claims are based on negligence. To show negligence, it’s important to prove the four elements that make it up:

  • The party or entity that is considered at-fault for the accident owed you (the victim) a duty of care
  • The failure of that party to act in a reasonable matter resulted in them breaching the duty of care
  • The inaction or action of the other party resulted in your injury
  • Your injuries caused damages that you could receive compensation for

You may wonder how this works in real life. Consider drivers, for example. When you are driving, you are expected to do so safely and take steps to prevent a car accident. If this care is not taken, then you can be considered liable for any damages caused by the accident.

This includes property damage and personal injuries. In personal injury claims, you must prove the other driver acted negligently or recklessly, which is why an accident occurred. It’s also necessary to prove that the accident caused your injuries.

Additionally, companies can be liable for any injuries that are caused by a defective product they sell or manufacture. This may include a defect in the design, manufacturer, or warning defect. Called product liability, a company will be strictly liable for products, which means you only must show the product is defective and that the company designed a defective product, manufactured it incorrectly, or did not warn about a defect and that you suffered an injury because of it. In a product liability case, you have the right to hold the retail store (seller), manufacturer, designer, or all three liable for the injuries you experience.

Property owners, occupiers, and managers can also be held liable for an injury that occurs on a commercial or residential property. If you are injured in a store or while at another person’s house, you must prove there was an unsafe condition on the property the owner or occupier should have been aware of and did not. You must also prove this is what caused your injury.

While a municipality may be held responsible for your injuries if you were on public property, remember the filing rules (mentioned above) that apply to these situations.

Related Article: What Are the Three Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Do You Need a Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney?

In some situations, if liability is clear and uncontested, you may be able to settle your case without hiring a personal injury attorney. However, this isn’t recommended. A personal injury attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers knows the law and how to use it to help you recover the most compensation possible for your case.

It is best to hire an attorney for a personal injury lawsuit. They will investigate the claim, gather evidence, and help you each step of the way. Also, you don’t have to pay the attorney unless they help you recover compensation successfully. This means there is no risk in hiring a personal injury attorney.

Contact our legal offices to schedule a free initial consultation to get started.

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