Any traffic accident, big or small, can bring on emotional stress to those involved. For some, life seems to come to a complete halt.
Dealing with car repairs or missed days at work is bad enough. Having to face a severe injury can be even more devastating. Hospital bills, physical therapy and the loss of salary due to a car accident are indeed overwhelming.
Language, at times, can be an obstacle for Spanish-dominant Latinos. But there’s been an increase in Spanish-speaking lawyers and firms in the Danbury, CT area that are assisting those who prefer businesses that speak their native tongue.
If you have been involved in a car accident on a Connecticut highway, there are several laws that dictate how to receive fair compensation for any damage to your car and any injury sustained as a result of the accident. It is important, however, to be familiar with the laws as they can have a great impact on your case.
“Comparative Fault” and “At-Fault” are two state law terms used to describe the percentage of fault each party is to blame for a car accident.
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover damages, or financial award, from the other party, however, that compensation will be reduced by the percentage of the accident you were responsible for as decided by judge and jury. If it was determined by the court that you were equally responsible for the cause of the accident, then you risk not being awarded any damages for your role in the accident even if you were the one hit and injured.
Driver A was driving over the posted speed limit and texting while crossing a busy intersection. Driver B makes a right turn into the intersection, cutting off Driver A causing a major accident. Even though Driver B failed to give right-of-way to Driver A causing the accident; Driver A was speeding and distracted. The court determined Driver A was 30% responsible, because had they not been speeding, and had they not been texting, they would have seen Driver B and been able to stop, or at minimum, honk their horn and have better prevented the accident.
As a result, if Driver A was awarded $10,000 in damages, the amount would be reduced by 30% or $3000 to cover their share of responsibility.
"Statute of limitations" is a Connecticut state law that limits the time frame in which to file a lawsuit. Different types of injuries and accident scenarios dictate with time limitation you must adhere to. Failure to file lawsuit within the designated time frame will prevent you from pursuing any legal action in the future.
It is important to note that this Statute of Limitations refers to a legal claim only and does not apply to filing an insurance claim. Usually, when an accident occurs, it is normal for you or the other driver to file an insurance claim immediately or at least within a reasonable amount of time.
Most time limits, whether for bodily injury claims or property damage, for filing lawsuit are within 2 years from the date of the accident.
The only exception to this Statute of Limitations involves a wrongful death lawsuit. If a family member is killed as a result of a car accident, the surviving family must still adhere to the 2 year time limit to file a Damages lawsuit. However, family members have 5 years in which to submit a Wrongful Death Lawsuit.
While it is not advised you rush into filing a lawsuit, it is also advised you leave yourself plenty of time. There is a process involved with filing claims and intent to sue, which also gives the opposing party time to respond. If you feel the insurance company or opposing party is purposely delaying investigation or responding to your claims to get past legal time limits, you may consider speaking with a Personal Injury lawyer.
With any accident, typically the first step is to file a claim with your own insurance company. Like most states, Connecticut requires its drivers to carry a certain amount of liability coverage. This liability provision will cover damage and injury for the other driver up to the amount you chose when you applied for the policy. Just as their liability provision covers you.
For small fender-benders or other minor accidents, hiring an attorney probably isn’t necessary.
However, if you or a loved one has been involved in a more serious accident, involving complete damage to your vehicle and severe injury, you might consider speaking with a lawyer. Consultations are usually free of charge and an experienced lawyer will be able to determine if you have a case worth pursuing in a court of law.
While technically you can file a personal injury suit on your own, most times it helps to have an experienced attorney. One who already has experience negotiating with insurance companies and has relationships with professional witnesses who can help build a better case should it go to trial.
Personal Injury lawsuits against insurance companies involve more than covering damage to your car and immediate medical bills. An injury lawyer knows this and usually includes the following when determining your claim amount:
Under Connecticut’s Comparative Fault Rules, an insurance company can deny your claim stating that the policyholder is not at fault for the accident, or that you share equally for the cause of the accident and therefore you receive no pay-out for the damage to your vehicle or injuries sustained.
Having a licensed attorney can help you build a better and stronger case showing the required proof needed to determine fault and responsibility for the injuries inflicted upon you.
Many times, when a person is representing themselves to the insurance companies, the company will offer either an extremely low settlement or refuse to pay the claim counting on the victim to simply accept the offer.
If the other driver’s insurance company is refusing to pay your claim or is offering a financial settlement well below what you feel is fair, you might want to speak with an experienced attorney.
Statistics show that having lawyer representation increases financial settlement exponentially.
Because lawsuits, especially against insurance companies can take time to put together, the sooner you move forward with legal representation, the better. However, you want to make certain you are choosing the best one for you.
Here are 5 tips to follow when selecting a Lawyer:
There is a wide range of lawyers to choose from with experience in all areas of law. Be sure to choose one that focuses primarily on injury or accident law. It also helps to find an attorney who has represented clients with your particular injuries.
Before you settle on one lawyer, be sure to read reviews on Google of other peoples’ experience with a lawyer. Also research if any complaints or suspensions have been filed against their license by checking out the Connecticut Bar Association here : https://www.ctbar.org/public
During your initial consultation, it’s okay to ask about caseload and success rate. While it is normal for a successful attorney to have many legal cases happening at once, does it seem like you are one of too many? Also find out how often you can expect to be updated regarding your case and how? Will you receive a weekly update via email? Can you can the staff with any questions? Have they won cases like yours before?
During your initial meeting, pay attention to how you feel. Did the attorney and legal staff go out of their way to greet you and address your concerns?
If your understanding of English is somewhat limited, it may be important that you select a attorney who can speak Spanish in the Danbury, CT area. He or she will be able to explain the legal process and can provide you with proper legal representation. Often times, insurance companies will have you sign forms, and if you are unable to read them effectively, you could be signing your right to pursue legal action away.