What is Connecticut’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law?
If you were injured in an unexpected accident, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit. This civil action provides financial compensation for any damages that you suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You have the right to recover compensation for all of the losses that you sustained—as long as you were not partially responsible for the accident. If you are found to share some of the fault for the accident, Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence statute will apply. In this situation, your award may be reduced or denied altogether.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Negligence is a legal concept that refers to a person’s breach of a certain duty of care, which causes harm to another person. For example, drivers must follow the law and drive carefully. They commit negligence when they drive over the speed limit, make unsafe lane changes, or run through red lights or stop signs.
In some cases, negligence isn’t clear cut. A driver may run through a red light, but another driver may be driving while distracted. In this situation, both parties involved in the accident may share the liability. When one person files a lawsuit against the other, the court needs a way to determine who deserves compensation.
This is where comparative and contributory negligence laws come into play. These statutes determine how to approach situations where a plaintiff and a defendant may share liability. Most states follow one of three types of shared fault doctrines:
- Contributory Negligence: The plaintiff cannot recover any compensation if he or she shares any fault for the accident. Even if the plaintiff is 1% at fault and the defendant is 99% at fault, the plaintiff is barred from recovery.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: The plaintiff can recover compensation even if he or she is 99% at fault for the accident. The defendant would still be liable for the 1% of fault that he or she holds.
- Modified Comparative Negligence: The plaintiff can recover compensation as long as he or she does not share more fault than the defendant. Depending on the state, the threshold for recovery could be 50% or 51%.
Connecticut’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law
Connecticut follows a modified comparative fault system. According to state law, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit can recover compensation from a defendant as long as he or she is no more than 50% at fault for the incident. If the court finds that the plaintiff is 51% or more responsible, he or she will not be able to recover any compensation.
If the plaintiff’s negligence is equal to or less than that of the defendant, the court will reduce his or her award by the percentage of fault that he or she shares. For example, if the plaintiff requests a $100,000 settlement but is found to be 30% responsible for the accident, he or she will only be able to recover $70,000.
Protect Your Right to Compensation with an Attorney
During a personal injury lawsuit, you want to recover the highest possible award. If you are facing accusations of shared liability, you need an attorney on your side who can defend your right to compensation and prove the defendant’s negligence. As soon as possible after your accident, contact a Connecticut personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and plan your next steps.