New Haven Personal Injury Attorneys
A personal injury can occur at any given moment and in any place. If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may have grounds to file a New Haven personal injury claim to be compensated for your injuries and losses. It is, therefore, important to know what a personal injury claim is, and whether your case applies. It is also important to consult with our experienced attorney, who can evaluate the circumstances involved in your case and advise you of the best course of action.
At Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, we have been helping the victims of personal injury accidents recover the compensation they deserve for more than sixty years. Our goal is to make you and your family whole again, by holding the at-fault party financially accountable for your injuries and losses.
What Is a New Haven Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is the legal process by which an injured party pursues damages from another party whose negligent, reckless, or intentional actions caused them to suffer a physical, psychological, or financial injury.
The damages that may be recovered in a personal injury claim include but are not limited to economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost income and wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages may also be recovered for the injured party’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc.
There are strict time limits (called the statute of limitations) to file a personal injury claim, depending on what state you live in, the type of injury you sustained, and who or what caused your injury. In Connecticut, you generally have only two years to gather the evidence you need and file a personal injury claim, or be barred from ever doing so.
It is, therefore, usually recommended that if you are considering a New Haven personal injury claim, you hire an attorney who can assist you with building your case and filing a claim before the applicable statute of limitations expires.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
There are many types of accidents that can have a lasting impact on your life. Personal injury claims are classified based on the nature of the circumstances that led to the accident and, ultimately, your injuries. The most common types of personal injury claims are as follows:
- Motor vehicle accident claims (involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, boats, etc.);
- Slip and fall accident claims;
- Medical malpractice claims;
- Workplace Accidents;
- Premises Liability;
- Product Liability; and
- Dog bites
Work related-injuries are typically covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system. However, workers’ compensation benefits won’t always cover all of your medical expenses, or may not get approved at all. In these cases, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer (or some third party) to be compensated for the full breadth of your losses.
Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Claim
All personal injury claims in New Haven have a basis in tort law, which is essentially the law of negligence. This means that for you to succeed in your claim, you need to prove that the defendant is legally at fault because they acted negligently with regard to your safety or wellbeing.
To establish negligence on the part of the defendant in your personal injury case, you will need to prove each of the following elements:
You need to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Most personal injury cases involve a duty of care that has already been recognized by the courts for a long time. Examples include the duty owed by a doctor to a patient, an employer to an employee, or a driver to other motorists and pedestrians on the road.
Breach of Duty
You need to prove that the defendant breached their duty to you in some way. To do this, you must consider what witnesses and/or documents you can gather to support your claim. For example, for a medical malpractice case, you may wish to hire medical experts to comment on the medical professional’s breach of duty.
If you cannot sufficiently prove that the defendant’s breach of duty led to your injury, illness, or financial losses (known as causation), then you have no claim. Causation is often proven by having an expert witness from the relevant field to provide an opinion on the cause and nature of your injuries.
For example, an orthopedic consultant may be asked to give an opinion on the cause of a broken leg. Similarly, a lung and respiratory specialist may be asked to do the same for an asbestos-related lung disease.
Proving causation can sometimes be very straightforward. For example, if you had no existing health issues before being injured in a car accident, there can be very little argument that the accident caused your injuries.
But what if you already had a back problem? Did the accident make your pre-existing condition worse? Or would your condition have gotten worse anyway? It is issues like this for which medical experts would need to be called upon for an opinion in support of your claim.
You need to establish the extent of the damages you have suffered because of the defendant’s breach of duty. This essentially means calculating the value of your personal injury claim, based on evidence such as your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and expert opinion as to the compensation needed to cover the cost of future medical needs, rehabilitation, loss of earning capacity, etc. If you cannot prove that you suffered damages, you have no case.
Most personal injury cases in New Haven are settled without the need to go to trial. However, if either of the necessary elements listed above is disputed by the defendant or their insurance provider, you may need to take the claim to court to ask a judge or jury to decide upon the disputed issues, and return a verdict in your favor.
What Is Comparative Negligence in a New Haven Personal Injury Claim?
In most states, if you have been injured in an accident and are found to share some percentage of fault, the amount of damages you can recover will be reduced in proportion to your share of liability. This is referred to as Comparative Fault.
There are three basic types of Comparative Fault systems in use in the United States. Each allocates fault for an accident differently:
Pure Contributory Negligence – a few states follow the doctrine of pure contributory negligence, wherein an accident victim cannot recover any amount of damages from the other parties involved in the accident if they are even 1% at fault.
Pure Comparative Negligence – this rule allows the injured party to recover damages even if they are 99% at fault for the accident. However, the injured party’s recovery will be reduced by their own degree of fault.
Modified Comparative Negligence – in some states, if the injured party is 51% or more at fault for the accident, they will be barred from recovering any compensation for their injuries and other losses. However, if they are 50% or less at fault, they can recover damages in an amount reduced by their own degree of fault.
Connecticut follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule. So, for example, if you are injured in a car accident in Connecticut, and you were awarded $100,000 in damages, but you are also found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you will only be able to recover $80,000 in damages ($100,000 less $20,000 for your own percentage of fault). If you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you will be unable to recover any of the $100,000 in damages you were awarded.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys
The most important thing you can do after being injured in an accident in Connecticut is to consult with an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney. The personal injury lawyers at Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante know how to approach complex personal injury cases in the most effective way, and can ensure that fault for your accident is assessed properly.
We have extensive experience handling personal injury cases, and we prepare every case to be successfully tried in a court of law if need be. Call us today at 203-800-7343, toll-free at 888-692-7403, or fill out our online contact form to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer.