What are the Comparative Negligence Laws for Connecticut?
Each state has adopted laws regarding how negligence is assigned in a car accident to calculate liability for damages. Connecticut has adopted a modified comparative negligence standard for motor vehicle accidents.
When you are injured in a car crash, your ability to recover compensation for your injuries depends on who caused the accident. If you are at fault, you are responsible for your own losses. However, if the other driver caused the collision, you can file a claim against that driver’s insurance coverage to recover compensation. The one factor to keep in mind is Connecticut’s negligence laws.
Under Connecticut General Statutes §52-572(h)(b), you must be less than one-half responsible for the collision to recover compensation for your losses, injuries, and damages. If you are 51 percent or more responsible for the cause of the crash, you are barred from receiving compensation for an injury claim.
Insurance Companies Love Arguing About Negligence Laws
The insurance company for the other driver wants to blame you for the accident to avoid paying you compensation for your damages. If it cannot blame you for 100 percent of the collision, the insurance company will try to put as much of the blame as possible on you to reduce the amount it must pay to settle your injury claim.
Our attorneys understand how to fight insurance companies on negligence issues. If the cause of the crash is even somewhat in question, our attorneys work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to obtain the evidence we need to prove the other driver caused the crash. Without expert assistance, it may be much more difficult, if not impossible, to refute the liability allegations raised by the insurance company for the other driver.
Reducing Compensation Because of Comparative Negligence
If the other party is successful in arguing you were partly at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Under Connecticut’s negligence standard, you cannot receive full compensation for your damages if you are judged to have contributed to the reason for the crash.
For instance, if a driver swerves in front of you causing a head-on collision, that driver would appear to be fully liable for the accident. However, if you were illegally passing another vehicle at the time of the collision, a judge or jury could determine you were partly at fault for the crash. If you are assigned 30 percent of fault, your compensation is reduced by 30 percent. Therefore, if your damages are $100,000, the maximum you can receive is $70,000 (total damages less 30 percent).
Therefore, our goal is to prove you had no fault for the crash. When there is some fault on your part, our goal is to decrease the percentage assigned to you to minimize the deduction from your total damages.
Modified vs. Pure Comparative Negligence
Drivers in states with pure comparative negligence do not need to contend with the 50-percent rule. Under this negligence standard, you could be 99 percent liable for the crash and still receive compensation for one percent of your damages. However, it would not be practical to sue for one percent of your damages. Furthermore, the other party will almost certainly sue you for the other 99 percent of damages.
On the other hand, comparative negligence is much better, either pure or modified, than contributory negligence. States that adopt a contributory negligence standard have laws prohibiting a victim from recovering any compensation if the victim is even one percent responsible for the collision.
Despite what the insurance adjuster says about your actions, our attorneys will aggressively fight to maximize the amount of money you receive for your accident claim.