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What Is Connecticut’s Comparative Fault Law?

What Is Connecticut's Comparative Fault Law?

Car accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers understand the importance of ensuring clients fully understand the law and how it relates to their situation. You will find that our law team will take time to discuss your situation and answer any questions you have about your case and your ability to recover compensation. 

Connecticut is a comparative negligence state. Under this law, it’s possible to recover damages in a car accident even if you are partially at fault. To do this, you must be under 50% at fault for the accident. 

Keep reading to learn more about comparative negligence and its impact on a car accident claim. 

Comparative Negligence Defined 

In car accident cases, comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that makes it possible to split blame. For example, if you are speeding and another car swerves into your lane and hits you, when you both stop, you will probably start playing the “blame game.”

In this example, you may be found 20% at fault due to speeding, and the other driver is 80% at fault because they swerved into your lane. It means you can recover 80% of the total damages awarded. 

It’s important to note that comparative negligence applies to personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims. If you hire a car accident attorney to help you file a lawsuit against the other driver, a jury or judge will determine each party’s percentage of the blame. When filing an insurance claim, the insurance adjuster will use comparative negligence to determine the amount they will pay. 

Different Types of Comparative Negligence 

Comparative negligence is made up of three parts. These include pure comparative negligence, contributory negligence, and modified comparative negligence. Connecticut is one of 33 states that use modified comparative negligence. 

Under modified comparative negligence, someone who is injured in an accident can only collect damages based on their percentage of fault. No compensation can be recovered if they are more than 50% responsible. 

Determining Fault When More Than Two Parties Are Involved in the Accident 

If you are in an accident that involves more than two drivers who are at fault, the responsibility is split among all drivers. If you are injured in an accident when more than one driver is to blame, you can file a claim to one or all the at-fault parties’ insurance companies. 

When one of the other drivers doesn’t have sufficient coverage for your costs, the other at-fault parties must pay more. This ensures injured victims receive the full compensation they are entitled to. 

Determining Fault Under Connecticut’s Comparative Negligence Law

It’s important to determine who is at fault for an accident. This lets everyone involved know who to pursue compensation from. 

Some of the evidence that is used to determine fault in accidents includes:

  • Weather conditions when the accident occurred
  • The time of day when the accident occurred
  • The types of vehicles involved in the accident
  • Reports from witnesses
  • Photographs of the damage 

After ensuring everyone in the accident is alright, it’s best to contact the authorities. Having an official police report for the accident is essential when insurance companies are working to determine fault. 

Comparative Fault and Insurance Claims 

After being involved in a car accident, if you are found less than 50% at fault for the incident, you have the legal right to file a claim with the other party’s auto insurance carrier. 

Tips to Prevent Fault Redistribution

If your recovery is on the line, you must take the necessary steps to ensure fault redistribution doesn’t occur. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you must be careful about what you say and do until your case is resolved. 

Some tips that can help prevent this include:

Don’t Agree to a Recorded Statement 

After a car accident, the insurance company for the at-fault party may request a statement. If this occurs or if you discover a call is being recorded, you need to be careful about what you say and what information you give. Making a recorded statement is risky because the insurance company now has something they can use against you. Even if you don’t think you said something they could use, insurance adjusters will often twist a victim’s words to help reduce the amount of compensation they must pay. 

Remember, you aren’t required to make a recorded statement. You can also refer the insurance adjuster to your attorney, who can make a statement on your behalf. If you talk to an insurance adjuster who claims you must make a statement to receive authorization for a rental car (or anything else), get in touch with your car accident lawyer immediately. This is not the case in personal injury law. 

Use Social Media Carefully

While you likely want to let your friends and family know you are fine after a car accident, it’s best to avoid posting anything about the accident on social media until your case has been resolved. If you post about your accident on social media, the insurance company may submit a subpoena to access your entire social media account, which includes all your private messages. 

This can be problematic in some situations. For example, if you posted about the accident on social media, you may have a friend who reaches out through the messaging feature to find out what happened. You may tell them you didn’t see the driver. While you may not have said this to the insurance company, these messages can be used to shift who is at fault for the accident. 

Common FAQs about Connecticut’s Comparative Fault Law

At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, our goal is to be transparent about our services and help clients better understand personal injury law. Here you can find answers to the most common questions we are asked about Connecticut’s comparative fault law. 

What’s the difference between comparative fault and comparative negligence?

With comparative negligence, a plaintiff is prohibited from being able to recover damages if they are found even partially at fault for a car accident. On the other hand, comparative fault will reduce the total damages by the percentage the plaintiff is considered at fault. 

What does pure comparative negligence mean?

Three states use pure comparative negligence, including New York, Florida, and California. Under this law, a car accident victim can receive compensation for their injuries, regardless of their negligence. This is true even if their percentage of fault is more than the other party. 

Is Connecticut an at-fault state?

No. Since 1994, a fault-based insurance system has been used in Connecticut. This means the party who is responsible for causing the accident must pay for damages that occur. Usually, these payments are made via the at-fault party’s auto insurance provider. 

What is a comparative fault defense? 

The comparative negligence system will allocate fault in car accidents. With this law, some type of it has been utilized by most states. As a defendant, you can also create a partial defense by saying that the plaintiff is partially at fault for the accident. 

Is Connecticut a tort state?

Yes. Connecticut is a “tort” or at-fault state. This means the person who caused the accident must use their insurance to cover the costs of the accident incurred by the victim. Insurance companies and police will use the evidence available to determine who’s at fault for the incident you are involved in. 

Who is responsible for determining comparative negligence?

A jury or judge typically determines responsibility for a car accident in Connecticut. In a trial, the jury will be provided instructions on the comparative fault law and how to use it. 

Don’t Wait to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

The moments, hours, days, and weeks after a car accident can be full of questions and confusion. You may need extensive treatment for your injuries, have no vehicle because of damage, and be unable to return to work, which means there is no money coming in. This can cause a lot of stress for anyone. 

However, if the accident was not your fault or not completely your fault, you can recover compensation. Since Connecticut operates under a modified comparative fault system, you must be 50% or less at fault to receive damages. If you aren’t sure who was at fault in your case or need help filing a lawsuit, our car accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are ready to help. 

We can review the facts of your case and start working to gather evidence and ensure you get the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and other losses. Our legal team has dealt with thousands of car accident cases, and you can be confident in our ability to help you achieve the desired outcome. Contact us today for more information.

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