Connecticut Auto Accident Attorneys
Many of us remember the excitement we felt the day we first got our driver’s license. Freedom and the thrill of the open road awaited! The sad reality is, though, that at some point in their lives, most drivers in Connecticut will be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Fortunately, many of these car accidents will be minor. Sadly, others will leave victims with life-altering injuries or fatalities. In either case, if you have been hurt, you want relief–and fast.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, you may be feeling anxious about the future, frustrated with insurance companies, overwhelmed by the situation, and unsure of what steps to take next. If this in any way describes how you’re feeling, please be assured that you don’t have to go through this alone. A fast, experienced lawyer can help you.
The Connecticut personal injury lawyers at Gould Injury Law want to take some of the burden off of your shoulders. Regardless of the type of car accident you were in, our law firm can offer fast legal assistance to help you obtain maximum financial compensation for your injuries.
We understand that you want to get your life back on track as soon as possible. At Gould Injury Law, we pride ourselves on being “The Fast Firm.” Because the team of accident lawyers at our law firm does everything within our power to accelerate your claim. Call 888-WIN-FAST today to schedule your free initial consultation!
When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident
You’re stuck in traffic on Connecticut’s I-95 on your way home from work when suddenly you’re rear-ended by a distracted driver. Sometime later, after having your injuries checked by a doctor and filing a police report, you’re now back at home and left with an important decision.
You must decide whether to deal with the insurance company yourself or obtain help with the legal process by hiring an accident lawyer. It is your legal right to do either. Before making a decision, though, consider some of the tactics insurance companies use on those who haven’t hired a lawyer.
First of all, keep in mind that the goal of any insurance company is to make a profit. The business thrives on making money, not on making friends. The lower an insurance company can get you to settle your claim for, the more money in their pockets.
You may run into the following roadblocks when you attempt to file a claim with an insurance company after your Connecticut car accident:
- Outright denial of your claim: Insurance companies may give any number of reasons why they are denying your claim. They may assert that the accident was avoidable or that you did something to cause the crash. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, they may argue that this is what caused your injury and pain, not the accident. Experienced car accident attorneys are familiar with the reasons why insurance companies may deny a claim and will ensure that they don’t get away with unfairly denying yours.
- Tricking you into accepting a low settlement offer: Regardless of how friendly an insurance adjuster is, their purpose in talking to you is to get you to accept as low an offer as possible. For instance, they may offer to pay all your medical expenses to date and pay for your property damage. That might sound good initially, but what about your future medical bills and your lost wages? Keep in mind that after you accept a settlement, your case can’t be reopened again at a future date.
- Intentional delaying of your settlement: Insurance companies may continue to delay your claim in hopes that you eventually cave under the pressure of mounting medical bills and accept a low settlement amount. Or they may try to deny your claim long enough that the statute of limitations runs out, ruining any chance you had to receive the financial compensation you deserve. In Connecticut, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
How a Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer can Provide Legal Help
The lawyers at Gould Injury Law know that a car accident can completely derail your life if you don’t get fast, dedicated legal assistance. That’s why we are committed to helping Connecticut residents recover from car accidents. Our personal injury lawyers have the legal knowledge, experience, and resources it takes to get your life back on track.
The following are some actions an auto accident lawyer will take on your behalf:
- Offering support: Nobody can fully understand the burdens a car accident victim faces until facing the situation themselves. A kind and caring personal injury law firm will be able to offer you needed support during this difficult time.
- Gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses: The more evidence you have, the stronger your legal case is. Your accident attorney will gather evidence such as photos and video footage of the accident and also speak to any bystanders or witnesses of the crash.
- Conducting a thorough legal investigation: An auto accident lawyer will launch a thorough investigation into your claim. This may include gathering police reports and any medical records pertaining to your case. Accident re-constructionist experts may be hired to determine who was at fault.
- Evaluating and negotiating a settlement: Most motor vehicle accident claims are settled out of court. A skilled accident attorney will know what your car accident claim is worth, be able to offer you valuable legal advice, and fight to negotiate the best possible settlement for you.
How Much Your Connecticut Car Accident is Worth
There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining how much a motor vehicle accident is worth. An experienced personal injury lawyer will sit down with you, investigate the circumstances and factors surrounding your case, and then give you a reliable estimate once all the facts have been ascertained.
The following are some factors that may influence how much you receive in monetary compensation:
- Medical expenses related to the injury: It is always important to see a doctor after you’ve been in a car accident, even if you initially feel fine. Remember that some injuries, such as head injuries, may not manifest themselves right away. Your lawyer will make sure that the compensation you receive will be sufficient to cover past and future medical bills. The injuries you sustained, medical records, medical expenses, and any procedures needed will all be taken into account by your auto accident lawyer when calculating the amount of compensation you are due.
- Loss of earning capacity and lost wages: After sustaining serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, it may take some time before you’re able to return to work. In some car accident cases, injuries are so severe that it is impossible to ever resume your job. Your lawyer will seek financial compensation for lost wages and loss of the ability to earn wages in the future.
- Vehicle and property damage: Insurance should cover any damage done to your vehicle in the accident. However, in circumstances where the liable party was uninsured or a drunk driver was involved, a lawyer is needed to offer legal advice and ensure you receive reimbursement.
- Emotional distress or pain and suffering: It is not only physical damages that are taken into consideration when determining financial compensation. Damages are also calculated to include the emotional and mental anguish that a person experiences after the accident. This can include loss of sleep, fear, and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s hard to put a dollar amount on this type of pain; no amount is sufficient to undo the damages done. Nevertheless, your accident lawyers will work aggressively to gain you financial damages for the emotional distress you are facing.
Types of Car Accidents We Handle Throughout Connecticut
Our lawyers at Gould Injury Law know that no two car accidents are the same. After taking on your case, our law firm’s legal team will thoroughly investigate the facts surrounding your car accident and create a plan of action specific to your needs.
The following are examples of different types of car crashes our law firm has experience in handling:
- Rear-end collisions: These accidents usually occur when the vehicle in front suddenly slows down or stops and the rear vehicle is following too closely or is distracted.
- Side-impact collisions (T-bones): Accidents of this kind occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another. They commonly take place at intersections. Side-impact collisions can be severe depending on where the vehicle was struck, and at what speed the crash occurred. These types of crashes make up about one-fourth of vehicle-related deaths in the United States.
- Head-on collisions: This type of crash is just what it sounds like–when the front-ends of two vehicles collide. Head-on collisions are usually serious, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.
- Vehicle rollovers: These types of accidents are terrifying for those involved. Rollovers are more common in SUVs, which have a higher center of gravity and are more prone to tip. These types of accidents are often caused by a driver making a sharp turn at a high speed.
- Single-car accidents: Accidents involving just one vehicle are quite common. They typically take place when a vehicle runs off the road; strikes a wall, fire hydrant, or pole; or hits debris in the road.
Multi-car pile-ups: These accidents happen when one vehicle rear-ends the vehicle in front and then that vehicle crashes into the next, continuing down the line. It can be difficult to determine fault in these types of accidents. Experienced accident lawyers can help guide you through the complicated legal process.
Connecticut Car Accident Statistics
Unfortunately, even if you are a safe driver who follows traffic laws, you still must share the road with those who don’t. Car accidents, ranging from minor to severe, are a daily occurrence in Connecticut.
For Connecticut, statistics regarding accidents can be found in the state crash data repository. This is an online tool that records accident data from the CT Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety.
The following car accident statistics are from the state repository. Accident totals from 2021 include:
- 97,818 total crashes
- 183,539 vehicles involved
- 234,972 people involved
- 1,155 involving pedestrians
- 1,215 involving motorcycles
- 708 involving school buses
- 457 involving bicycles
- 420 involving transit buses
- 2,550 involving unlicensed drivers
The number of crashes according to potential cause of collision in 2021:
- 2,923 DUI-related crashes
- 5,489 distracted driving-related crashes
- 16,958 crashes involving drivers over 65
- 33,055 crashes involving drivers between 15-25
- 15,019 involving crashes with fixed objects
- 864 work zone-related crashes
- 506 involving drivers going the wrong way
Tragically, fatal car accidents have been increasing annually, as you can see here:
- 2019 – 251 fatalities
- 2020 – 300 fatalities
- 2021 – 312 fatalities
What Causes Car Accidents in Connecticut?
The number of car accidents in Connecticut has been steadily increasing in recent years. Some of these collisions cause severe injuries or fatalities. There are many different reasons why these accidents occur.
The following are some common causes of Connecticut car accidents:
- Speeding: Driving over the posted speed limit and overdriving road or weather conditions are common causes of car accidents in Connecticut.
- Distracted driving: Texting and talking on the phone while driving cause many motor vehicle accidents in our state every year. Other forms of distracted driving include programming or reading the GPS, adjusting the stereo, and eating or drinking while driving.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way: This can include failing to yield to pedestrians, running red lights and stop signs, making improper left turns, merging incorrectly, and more.
- Reckless driving: Excessive speed, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, improper lane changes, and other reckless driving behaviors are the cause of many accidents throughout our state every year.
- Inclement weather: The weather in Connecticut can create dangerous driving conditions. Snow, rain, ice, and fog can contribute to slippery roads and poor visibility.
- Drunk driving: In Massachusetts, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) higher than .08. While driving under the influence makes up a smaller percentage of crashes every year, it is the most common cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Connecticut is a Modified Comparative Fault State
Determining fault after an accident or injury can be complex, to say the least. In Connecticut, even if you are able to prove that the other party was negligent, they can still avoid some or full liability if they provide evidence that you were partly to blame for the incident.
Connecticut is a modified comparative fault state. This means that damages are distributed depending on how much each party is at fault. If someone is 100 percent to blame for an accident, then he or she is liable for all damages. However, if the other party is found to be 51 percent or less at fault, they can recover financial compensation based on their degree of fault.
As an example, you were involved in a motorcycle accident. Suppose the other party was mostly at fault for the collision, but they were able to place part of the blame on you because you were speeding. You were found to be 20 percent at fault and the other party is 80 percent at fault. If the damages total $10,000, the other party will have to pay $8,000 while you will be responsible for the remaining $2,000.
Modified comparative fault can be beneficial to accident victims, but it can also lead to insurance companies looking for any excuse to unjustly assign blame.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Connecticut?
A “statute of limitations” is a law that puts a limit on the time a person has the right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit and recover compensation for losses sustained in an accident. In Connecticut, under Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584, a car accident victim has 2 years from the date of injury to file a claim.
While the clock typically starts ticking from the moment the car accident occurs, there are exceptions for injuries that may not have been immediately obvious. In such a situation, the time limit may be extended to 3 years. It is rare for a victim to be allowed any longer than this to file a lawsuit.
There are certain circumstances where the statute of limitations will begin counting down from the moment a person should have been aware of an injury within “the exercise of reasonable care.” A judge will examine evidence and determine the date when the victim should have known about his or her condition.
Just because you have 2 years to bring your claim forward does not mean that you should wait that long to get the legal ball rolling. It is best to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after being injured in a car accident. If you fail to file your claim before the statute of limitations ends, you could completely lose your right to receive compensation.
Is Connecticut a No-Fault Accident State?
No, Connecticut is not a no-fault state. Every state decides what system will be used for determining who was responsible for each motor vehicle accident.
In a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The driver who caused the crash is responsible for compensating the other party for their losses, either through the insurance company or by paying out of pocket.
Connecticut eliminated its no-fault insurance system in 1994. We are now a modified comparative negligence state. This means that all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage and that insurance companies may find both drivers partially to blame for a car accident.
Under our state’s comparative negligence rules, a driver who is over 51 percent at fault for the accident in question cannot collect compensation from the other involved parties. If a party is 51 percent or less to blame for the car accident, though, they can collect damages minus the percentage for which they are at fault.
Consider the following examples of how modified comparative negligence works:
- A driver is found to be 100 percent liable for the accident. Thus, he or she is financially responsible for the full amount of damages suffered by the other party.
- A driver is 25 percent responsible for the accident. If he or she is awarded a $10,000 settlement, the amount will be reduced by 25 percent, leaving that driver with $7,500.
- A driver is 51.2 percent responsible for an accident and is therefore unable to collect compensation from the other party.
Contact Our Experienced Connecticut Car Accident Lawyers Today
Don’t allow a motor vehicle accident to alter your life without fighting back. At Gould Injury Law, we understand that it can take time to rebuild your life after a catastrophic accident. But with the right legal assistance that can expedite the process and make it more manageable, you can win compensation faster. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Connecticut car accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Gould Injury Law today.
When you work with Gould Injury Law, you don’t have to worry about lawyer’s fees. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we don’t get paid until you receive a settlement. Call our law firm at 888-WIN-FAST or fill out the online form to schedule your free consultation.