Car Accident Liability
Imagine this scenario: You’re driving home from a grueling day at the office and a tailgater smashes into your vehicle two blocks from home. Or, perhaps you’re driving your youngest child to Little League practice and an inconsiderate, distracted driver plows through a red light and broadsides your car.
No matter the circumstances, if the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Connecticut’s minimum insurance requirements are enforced to protect drivers from the negligence of others on the road. In the event of a collision, the at-fault party’s insurance will cover the cost of medical expenses and property damage to the injured party. However, fault must be established for the claim to be successful.
In order to seek the best outcome after a car accident, an attorney will need to establish who is at fault. Evidence is the key to establishing car accident liability, and a qualified personal injury attorney can help prove who should be held responsible and recover damages for your accident.
Backed with decades of experience, the attorneys at The Flood Law Firm have helped thousands of accident victims recover their health and financial well-being. We know how to gather the right evidence to prove the other party is at fault. We also can maximize payouts by identifying car accident injuries with lifetime costs that well exceed the limits of a minimum insurance policy, and assist accident victims in securing damages for pain and suffering.
Connecticut Car Insurance Requirements
When it comes to insurance coverage options in Connecticut, drivers have two choices: they can purchase an insurance policy or they can submit proof of financial responsibility to the Connecticut Commissioner of Insurance.
The minimum requirements for auto insurance policies are:
- $20,000 per person if one person is injured or killed in a crash
- $40,000 per accident if more than one person is injured or killed
- $10,000 per accident to cover property damage costs
- $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
Commonly called “liability insurance,” these figures are the total amount the insurance company will pay for injuries or property damage resulting from an accident. Liability insurance does not cover any injuries you may sustain or damages to your car.
Bonus tip: If you want to be sure your car is covered for any kind of damage, like a fallen tree branch or hitting a stationary object, purchase a collision or comprehensive insurance policy.
Proof of financial responsibility, also known as self-insuring, is a more complex process. It requires a driver to submit documentation proving that funds to cover claims resulting from an accident can be quickly and legally transferred to injured parties. A car accident attorney is your best ally in ensuring you follow the law to the letter when self-insuring.
Types of Car Accident Liability
Simply put, “liability” in an auto accident means fault, as in, whoever is responsible for the accident is the at-fault or liable party.
Liability may be simple – a drunk driver running a red light and crashing into another car, for example. But proving fault in other accident types, especially when numerous vehicles are involved, isn’t so simple. A car accident attorney can take on the difficult task of sorting out the facts and evidence and build a case to prove negligence for you.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence occurs when a party fails to take reasonable measures to protect others. In terms of car accidents, it refers to motorists who fail to take basic precautions to protect other people on the road.
Reasonable care is an important term in liability, as it refers to the actions that a person should take to prevent harming another person. These would be examples of reasonable care while driving:
- Driving the speed limit
- Avoiding distractions, such as texting
- Stopping at red lights and stop signs
- Properly maintaining vehicles by getting necessary repairs
- Watching the road
What Is Recklessness?
Recklessness refers to both a driver’s state of mind and behavior choices. Namely, the person knows a choice will endanger the lives of others, but does it anyway. Drunk driving is the most obvious form of reckless behavior. Other examples include:
- Drag racing in a residential neighborhood
- Excessive speeding
- Knowingly operating a motor vehicle with defects
- Doing “donuts” in a parking lot
Comparative Fault Rules in Connecticut
Some states have no-fault rules, which means insurers pay their own clients’ damages. In those cases, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident.
The majority of states, including Connecticut, consider fault to be shared by each person, and limit the amount of damages motorists are able to collect, depending on their level of responsibility for the crash.
This is how it works:
You are in an accident with another driver. You file a lawsuit, which goes to court. The jury decides to award you $10,000 for your damages, but also decides you were 10 % liable for the accident.
Because of Connecticut’s comparative negligence rule, you will only be able to collect 90% of the damages, or $9,000. Because you were 10% responsible for the crash, you lose 10% of the total damages.
However, you can only collect damages if you were less than 50% responsible for the crash. If you are more than half responsible, you won’t be able to collect any damages.
How to Establish Car Accident Liability
The right evidence will prove liability and hold the at-fault driver responsible. The evidence will need to show that the at-fault driver’s negligence was the direct cause of your injuries.
Types of evidence your attorney will seek to build a strong case might include:
- Photographs of the scene, the cars and any damages or injuries
- All relevant medical records documenting your injuries
- Your medical bills, including hospital stays, doctor’s visit, medications, etc.
- Police reports of the incident, which will typically include the officer’s findings of how the accident occurred
- Eyewitness statements
- Information on weather conditions at the time of the crash
- A detailed account from you about how the accident occurred
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents take a huge toll on families – from physical pain and discomfort to financial strain and time off work. You need an attorney who will fight to get you compensated not only for your present medical expenses, but for future care costs and additional suffering.
Call us at (877) 987-9LAW or contact us online. Consultations are free and without obligation.
Car Accident FAQ
If I was injured in a accident, can I get compensated even if I may be partially responsible?
In most situations, yes. You will be awarded a reduced amount if you were responsible in some way. The compensation is typically reduced by a percentage, representing your percentage of responsibility for the crash. This is called comparative negligence.
What does liability car insurance typically cover?
Liability car insurance covers damages to another person and another person’s property resulting from an accident you cause. Liability is one of the most basic forms of car insurance and is also one of the few coverage options that is mandatory in Connecticut.
What is the time limit for filing a claim for a car accident in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, all claims for damages for personal injury based on negligence must be filed within two years of the injury. There may be exceptions to this, so it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.