Who Pays For Car Accident Compensation in Connecticut?
What you need to know from a lawyer you can trust
Car accidents in Connecticut can turn your life upside down. You might be unable to work for weeks or months. You could be in severe pain due to a serious injury. And if you don't take steps to protect your rights, you could end up having to pay for your accident - even if it wasn't your fault.
The accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli understand what's at stake. That's because they've been fighting for the rights of accident victims throughout Connecticut for decades. That's why we want to meet with you. We can explain how the insurance system works here. Then create a plan that fits your specific legal needs.
Connecticut is a 'Fault' Insurance State
Compensation for car accident victims in Connecticut is based on the state's "fault" insurance system. This means the at-fault driver must compensate everyone injured in the accident, including other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Determining who's at fault might seem straightforward. This is especially true if the other driver was speeding, drunk or texting while driving, which is against the law in Connecticut. In such cases, your official Connecticut car accident report will often include information documenting the at-fault driver's actions. So all you have to do is file an accident claim, right?
Don't be so sure. In many cases, car accidents turn out to be much more complicated. Sometimes, it's because the other driver denies doing anything wrong. Other times, it's the at-fault driver's insurance company. They might try to point the finger at you and claim you caused the crash. In either case, you will likely need a lawyer to set the record straight and get the money you rightfully deserve.
Available Options After Accident
After a car accident in Connecticut, victims have three main ways to pursue compensation for their crash. These are:
- File a "first-party" car accident claim
- File a "third-party" car accident claim
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver
There are benefits and drawbacks to each one of these approaches, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident. That's why it's important to discuss your case with us as soon as possible. We can explain which approach works best with your specific accident, then work with you to make sure you receive the money you rightfully deserve.
'First Party' Car Accident Claim
First-party claims (a legal term used to describe an application for financial compensation) are claims you file with your own insurance company for medical bills and lost wages, if you have purchased such coverage. A first-party claim also refers to the situation when the at-fault party has no auto insurance and your own uninsured motorist coverage may then compensate you for your losses.
If you have first-party benefits as part of your insurance policy, claiming those benefits can give you some financial relief in the event of an accident. However, your first-party benefits may not be enough to pay for the full, long-term cost of your injuries.
We think long term when it comes to car accidents. If you cannot work for months or years due to your crash, you should be compensated for such lost income. The same goes for ongoing physical therapy, in-home care and other long-term expenses.
'Third Party' Car Accident Claim
This type of claim involves seeking compensation directly from the at-fault driver's insurance company. Many accident victims choose this approach since they believe the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company should be the ones that compensate accident victims.
But dealing directly with another driver's insurance company can be complicated. If you attempt to do so on your own, be prepared to receive a settlement offer almost immediately from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Many people are tempted to take those early offers. But what they don't realize is by doing so, they usually forfeit the right to pursue additional compensation in the future. As a result, months or years later, you could be forced to pay for additional accident-related expenses out of your own pocket. And such expenses can easily add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit
Many insurance companies refuse to negotiate with accident victims. When this situation occurs, often the best way to get the money you deserve is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver - whose interests will be represented by the insurance company.
Insurance companies often respond to such lawsuits with vigorous legal action. They might try to get your case dismissed, or prove that you were the one who caused the crash - even if there's no evidence to support such a claim.
That's why it's critical that you have an experienced Connecticut attorney handling your lawsuit right from the start. We know exactly what to do. That's because our legal team has decades of courtroom experience. We know what it takes to win and we will not rest until justice is served.
State Insurance Requirements
Connecticut requires all drivers to have car insurance or prove they can meet the state's "financial responsibility" requirements. Most Connecticut drivers choose to obtain car insurance. The minimum amount of car insurance drivers must have in Connecticut includes:
- $20,000 per person for injuries
- $40,000 per accident for injuries if more than one person is hurt
- $10,000 per accident for property damage
- $20,000 per person for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- $40,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Drivers can - and should - consider purchasing additional insurance coverage. That's because the total cost of a car accident can often add up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars during the course of someone's lifetime. That's why it's important to have an attorney advocating for your best interests right from the start.
How We Can Help You
You only have one opportunity to obtain all the money you rightfully deserve for your car accident. This includes money for:
- All medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost future income
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
As your attorney, we can search for the evidence you need to build the strongest possible legal case. That way, we can effectively negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. And if they refuse to cooperate, we're prepared to take them to court.
You only have 2 years in most cases to take legal action after your car accident. That's the "statute of limitations" in Connecticut for auto accidents and other personal injuries. That might seem like a long time. But finding the facts you need to succeed often takes a tremendous amount of time.
Don't take chances with your case. Take action. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli right now. We have eight offices located throughout Connecticut.