Understanding Auto Accident Injury Laws in Connecticut
Injured in an Auto Accident? Here’s 3 Parts of The Law You Need to Know
Auto accident laws, like most areas of law in the United States, varies from state to state. While its basic tenets are fairly universal across the nation, there are some key differences in the details of Connecticut auto injury law that you should be aware of if you’re planning to drive in this picturesque state. Knowing what to do in the event of an accident can protect you and your family from having to absorb the cost of medical bills, lost wages, etc.
We understand that auto accident laws can be confusing and frustrating, so this guide is designed to help you easily understand answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the law. Whether you your self or a love one has been injured in an auto accident, understanding the way auto accident laws work in Connecticut is an important step in recovery.
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Auto Injury Laws in Connecticut: What You Need to Know
1. Connecticut auto accident law has what’s known as a statute of limitations for auto injury claims
In simple terms, what this part of auto accident law means is that you have exactly two years to file a personal injury claim if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident. If you wait longer than two years to make a claim, you won’t be able to file a personal injury case in court. (You will, however, still be able to file an insurance claim.)
While this deadline sounds generous, in reality, it’s easy to miss. Not all auto accident injuries manifest immediately; sometimes injuries that appear minor, like whiplash or bruising, can develop into chronic conditions. Likewise, sometimes people sustain connective tissue damage or brain injuries that are not evident right after the accident occurs. This is why it’s incredibly important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you’ve been in a car accident. Starting the diagnostic process early can help you define the scope of your injuries in time to file an accurate personal injury claim. Moreover, you should always contact an auto injury lawyer after being in a car accident. Having the assistance of a good lawyer and filing a claim quickly will give you a lot more leverage when you’re negotiating in court.
2. If you need to file a claim against a government entity, the statute of limitations may be different
If there’s one thing about Connecticut auto accident injury law that confuses a lot of people—and prevents them from securing a settlement—it’s this: If you’re involved in an accident with a government entity, such as a city bus or construction vehicle, you may not have a full two years to file a claim. In many cases, the deadline when dealing with government entities is shorter, and locating the deadline that applies to your case will require finding the correct government agency. As you can no doubt surmise, doing all of the aforementioned is complicated—too complicated for most people who have just been in accident. If you’ve been involved in accident with a government vehicle, you should therefore contact a Connecticut auto injury lawyer right away. We can help you find all of the information you need to secure a fair settlement.
3. Connecticut employs a “modified comparative negligence” rule when determining fault in car accident cases
While the term “modified comparative negligence” sounds vague, in reality, the principle behind it is fairly straightforward. In Connecticut, if you’re involved in an automobile accident, you need to prove the other party is at fault in order to claim damages. However, the Connecticut legal system recognizes that sometimes, both parties involved in an automobile accident share some portion of the blame. For example, if you’re hit by someone else while you’re distracted by talking on a cell phone, the jury might decide that you’re also at fault for the accident. (Note that using a cell phone while driving is illegal in Connecticut, so you should never do this!) This rule can impact the size of the settlement you get. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say that your total accident-related costs (in the form of medical bills, missed work, and so on), amount to $10,000. If the jury decides the other party is 100% at fault, you will get the total amount. If the jury decides that you’re 10% at fault, on the other hand, you’ll get $9000. If they decide you’re 50% at fault, you’ll get $5000. As such, it’s imperative that you follow the rules of the road while driving in Connecticut. Adhering to the law (and working with an excellent lawyer) will stand you in good stead to avoid accident-related costs.
Finally, in addition to finding the right legal team and seeing a doctor immediately after being in an accident, don’t forget that you should also file an insurance claim ASAP. Some people hold off on doing this because they worry about their rates rising, but reporting an accident promptly can help protect you from later financial losses. You can learn more about laws around auto insurance from the CGA.ct.gov website.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut, and is “of counsel” to the Jin Law Group at 200 Park Avenue in New York. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.