Every day, millions of Connecticut drivers get behind the wheel with many different things on their minds. As they buckle their seat belts and turn on the ignition, the last thing they think about is the possibility of getting into a car accident.
Car accidents inevitably take us by surprise, and all too frequently, without a plan for how to deal with it. While most drivers know the basics of what to do after a car accident (taking the other driver’s insurance information and giving a report to the police), very few have a clear understanding of what should happen in the days and weeks that follow.
If you’re like most drivers, you just want the matter settled as soon as possible, with as little expense as possible. You may spend days waiting anxiously for a call from your insurance provider, hoping not to be found at fault for the accident.
And if the insurance providers are able to cover your repairs with minimal impact to your policy premium in the future, you may consider yourself lucky and ready to forget that the whole thing ever happened.
But what if, instead, you learn that the other driver wants to take you to court?
As Connecticut’s premier auto accident attorneys, we have worked with numerous victims who were blindsided by being called into court over a car crash. Many of these victims have never hired a lawyer before, and feel alarmed, suspicious, or trapped into a situation they never wanted to have happen.
We understand the frustration and apprehension you may feel, and we want you to know that we are on your side. While the idea of going to court over your car wreck may be scary, you should know that our years of experience and our successful track record have made us both competent and confident in fighting for the rights of car accident victims like you. This article is presented by The Flood Law Firm to help you understand what to expect when you go to court. We hope that you can have a clearer idea of what’s involved in arguing your case, how long to expect the process to take, and what kinds of results are reasonable to anticipate.
We are also available to speak one-on-one about your situation at any time. If you would like to speak immediately with an experienced auto accident attorney, call The Flood Law Firm at (877) 987-9529. There is no cost or obligation to you for calling, and everything will be kept completely confidential no matter what you decide to do.
A car accident court case usually begins with a formal letter from an attorney representing the other driver involved in the wreck. In most situations, the message is simple: the other driver claims that they have suffered expenses or injuries that your insurance was not sufficient to cover. They feel entitled to more compensation from you and are ready to prove it to the court.
The process starts with both parties doing their best to establish who was mainly at fault. If you are the one who has been taken to court, you are in the position of the defendant, which means you are defending your position against the other party’s argument that they are entitled to more money.
Because the state of Connecticut follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule in car accident cases, the court makes their decision based on which driver was more at fault. They will examine the evidence and the arguments, and then decide what percentage of fault belongs to each driver. The financial damages the court has assessed will be awarded based on that percentage. So, if the court rules that the other driver was 10 percent at fault, they will receive only 90 percent of the damages awarded by the court.
However, there is another factor in Connecticut’s car accident laws. In this state, the person, who has taken you to court and has filed the claim against you, cannot receive any payment for damages if the court decides their fault was 50 percent or greater.
Essentially, if you are taken to court over a wreck, your job is to prove that the fault was equal on both sides. If the court determines that you were both equally at fault, you will pay nothing to the person suing you.
A person who takes you to court may be filing a larger insurance claim, or they may be suing you for personal injury. The process of defending yourself against each claim is slightly different, but they amount to the same thing: proving that you were not more responsible for the crash than the other driver.
To do this, you will have to counter their arguments in court with cross-examination and arguments of your own. You will have to make the other party answer questions about their driving habits, what they were doing behind the wheel that day, what their previous driving record is and other questions of this nature. You may bring witnesses of your own, as well as any evidence or documentation that points to your responsible conduct behind the wheel. Remember, you don’t have to make it sound as though the other party was entirely at fault—you just have to prove that the fault was equally on both of you.
Once a case has had a final judgment entered, both parties are prohibited from trying the case again. The other party has only this one opportunity to get money from you through the court system, and it is likewise that you do not have the option of going after them for the same car accident after the case is concluded.
Going to court for a car accident is incredibly stressful for most people, especially when they are on the defensive side. While plaintiffs may have been collecting evidence for their case over weeks and months, a defendant may feel unprepared or caught off-guard.
For this reason, your best option is to work with an experienced car accident attorney who can fight on your behalf. Our expert team of car accident attorneys successfully defended countless car accident victims from being hounded for more money after insurance companies have made their decision. Don’t let someone else’s greed take over your life. Get the help you need from The Flood Law Firm—call us today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your case at (877) 987-9529.