I Was Injured in Connecticut. Can I File A Lawsuit Against The Party That Caused My Injury?

You can make a claim against another party or parties if they are more at fault for your injuries than you are. In general, when a person is injured as a result of another person's negligence, the injured party may pursue a claim against the party or parties that caused the injuries. You are entitled to compensation for your injuries if it is found that a defendant was negligent and that such negligence was a cause of your injury. Connecticut follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, a claimant's action is not barred unless his negligence exceeds the combined negligence of all defendants, but the claimant's recovery is diminished in proportion to his degree of negligence.

Personal injury law attempts to cover all areas and types of injuries suffered by individuals. Some of the most common areas are automobile accidents, premise liability, medical malpractice, and product liability, among others. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation may depend on the type of accident that caused the injury.

AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS

Connecticut operates on a "fault" system, which determines liability based on a showing that one party was at fault because of negligence, which caused the accident. In other words, if the other driver is to blame for the accident, you can collect damages, and vice versa. Generally, people who operate motor vehicles must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Failure to use reasonable care is the basis for most lawsuits for damages caused by an automobile accident. In these cases, proof of fault is often contested and requires thorough investigation. A driver may also be liable for an accident caused by intentional or reckless conduct. A reckless driver is one who drives unsafely, with willful disregard for the probability that the driving may cause an accident.

If the person who caused your injury has automobile liability insurance, an insurance adjuster will gather the pertinent records including medical records, medical bills, wage loss verification and the like in an effort to verify your damages. The insurance company may make you an offer to settle the claim. You may find the offer acceptable and once you accept it, the claim process is over. If you do not receive an acceptable offer, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. Be careful when dealing with the other party's insurance company because they may try to rush you into a settlement before you can adequately evaluate the extent of your damages. If you are in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault or a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your damages, the uninsured or underinsured motorist provisions of your own policy will apply if you have purchased such coverage.

PREMISE LIABILITY

If you were injured at someone else's home or at a commercial establishment, the person responsible for the premises may be found liable. This can cover a variety of situations including slip and falls, dog bites, assaults, among others. The owner or operator of the property must have notice of the defect or circumstances that caused your injury prior to the injury having occurred. The notice can either be actual notice or implied notice, meaning the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition given all of the surrounding facts and circumstances. The person liable for your damages is the party in control of the property. That party is responsible for the care, maintenance and inspection of the property. For example, an owner may not be the responsible party if he or she has leased the property to another party who actually has control over the premises. The standard of care owed to a trespasser is usually less than that owed to a person who has permission to be on the property.

PRODUCT LIABILITY

Injury can result from defective products, as well. When a company designs and manufactures a product, they have a responsibility to ensure that anyone exercising reasonable care within the expected parameters of usage expected for the product will not be injured. "Product liability claim" includes all claims or actions brought for personal injury, death or property damage caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formula, preparation, assembly, installation, testing, warnings, instructions, marketing, packaging or labeling of any product. This type of claim includes all actions based on strict liability; negligence; breach of warranty, express or implied; breach of or failure to discharge a duty to warn or instruct, whether negligent or innocent; misrepresentation or nondisclosure, whether negligent or innocent.

In Connecticut, generally the defective product must have been bought or placed on the market no more than ten years prior to the date of injury. There are exceptions to this rule such as when a product is expected to last longer than ten years. This ten­year rule is in addition to the statute of limitations that requires you to file suit within three years of the date of injury.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

When a health care provider causes injury due to his or her failure to meet the accepted standards of care for that particular field of expertise, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. A claim can be brought against physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacists among others. Some examples of medical malpractice include incorrect diagnosis, failure to treat, improper treatment, delay in treatment, prescription errors, surgical errors, rendition of services without informed consent, etc. Medical malpractice claims are some of the most difficult to prevail in and are quite costly due to the need for qualified expert review and testimony.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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