Each state has a unique system for determining who is liable for an accident. In the state of Connecticut, the system is called “modified comparative negligence.”
However, do you know what that means or how it works? If not, don’t worry; you aren’t alone. Because our legal team is dedicated to ensuring our clients and potential clients are well-informed, we have created this handy guide to help you better understand this term and how it impacts accident cases.
If you are involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, get in touch with our legal team at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. Our car injury lawyers can investigate your case, determine liability, and help protect your rights.
Modified Comparative Negligence Defined
The state of Connecticut is considered an “at-fault” state. What this means is that there is always someone who is at fault for an accident. However, it also uses a comparative negligence system, which means every person involved in the accident is assigned a specific amount of fault based on how much of their negligent actions contributed to the accident.
In an accident that involves two people or parties, the total amount of fault assigned will equate to 100%. The person who is 50% or more at fault is the one who is liable for the accident. What is important about this is that the person who is at fault is not able to recover damages to repair their vehicle or to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to the accident.
The term “modified” in comparative negligence means that a driver will be penalized based on their percentage of fault. This means that the amount of a settlement is reduced. Here are some examples to help better explain this legal concept.
- If a driver is found to be 0% at-fault for an accident and they are awarded $100,000, they will get the entire amount.
- If a driver is found to be 25% at fault for an accident and they are awarded $100,000, they will receive $75,000.
- If a driver is found to be 51% at fault for an accident, they will not be allowed to recover any damages.
Determining and Assigning Fault in Accidents
Sometimes, the assignment of fault feels a bit subjective. It’s hard to know why the insurance adjuster decided that a person was 26% at fault or 32% at fault for the accident. Each percentage point is important, and it matters to the insurance company. That’s because it equates to a lower settlement amount based on the rules of modified comparative negligence.
One of the most important factors to understand about the assignment of fault is that it isn’t permanent. In fact, the assigned fault amounts can change and shift quickly if a driver is not careful about what they do or say after an accident.
An example of this would be if you were t-boned by another driver in Connecticut when they ran a red light. You will contact the insurance company to report the accident and tell them you didn’t see the other driver coming toward you and that you did not have time to react. In this case, the insurance company you speak to may use what you say against you.
In this case, they would do it to shift the fault and claim that you may have been able to prevent the accident if you had been paying attention.
How to Prevent the Redistribution of Fault After an Accident
If your ability to recover compensation is on the line, it’s important that you take steps to prevent the redistribution of fault. What this means is that you must be careful about what you say and do until the case has been resolved.
Some of the steps you can take to prevent the redistribution of fault in your accident case include:
Avoid Making a Recorded Statement
After you are involved in an accident, the insurance company may request that you make a statement. If this situation occurs, or if you discover they are recording the call, make sure you are careful about what you say. If your statement is recorded, you need to use precise wording to avoid having the fault reassigned. This is why it is smart to have Connecticut car injury lawyers present or handle the call for you.
Remember, there’s no requirement that states you must make a recorded statement without having your attorney present. If your insurance company claims this is necessary or that they are unable to authorize a rental vehicle without the statement, get in touch with an attorney right away.
Be Careful About What You Post on Social Media
While it may be tempting to let your family and friends know that you are okay after you are involved in an accident, it’s not a good idea to post about the incident on your social media profiles. After you post about the accident, the insurance company may use the information against you in your case. In fact, they can even request a subpoena to access your whole account, which includes your private messages.
If you have posted anything about the accident or even discussed it with a friend in a DM (direct message), they can access the content and use it to reassign fault.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Your Personal Injury Case
When it comes to accidents in Connecticut, it’s important to understand the impact the modified comparative negligence has. We can help explain how it will impact your case.
When you contact Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, our legal team will help you determine liability in your accident and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. We are here to help, and it all starts with a free consultation. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help with your case.