New Haven Personal Injury Attorney
An Energetic and Responsive Trial Lawyer in Connecticut
Attorney Thomas J. Piscatelli is an energetic and empathetic trial attorney who knows how to put up a strong fight in court. He is also a responsive lawyer who will work one-on-one with you on your personal injury claim and guide you through the process from start to finish. Attorney Piscatelli will put his years of trial experience to use to help you fight for the damages you deserve.
Car Accident Damages
Connecticut is a “fault” state, which means that people who are injured in car accidents have several options to pursue compensation (damages):
- file an insurance claim under their own auto insurance coverage;
- pursue a claim through the other driver's insurance carrier; or
- file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
In personal injury cases, damages are the costs associated with an accident awarded to the injured person, or the plaintiff filing for compensation. The amount of damages can be negotiated between the parties involved, or it can be decided by a judge or a jury trial at court. Types of damages that are common in car accidents include:
- Property damages – vehicle, personal belongings, any other items damaged as a result of the car accident
- Medical expenses – costs of medical services associated with the accident
- Lost wages – damages that represent the amount of money the injured person would have earned from the time of the injury to the date of settlement or judgment
- Mental and physical pain and suffering – damages for past and future physical pain and suffering in connection with the accident
- Double or treble damages (“punitive” damages) – the other party operated the vehicle deliberately or with reckless disregard, so punitive damages punish a defendant for their conduct
Note that unlike some other states, Connecticut does not impose a cap on personal injury damages, whether for economic or non-economic (“pain and suffering”) damages. However, there is a 2-year time limit for filing a car accident claim in Connecticut, starting from the date of the accident. After two years, the injured person will not be able to file a lawsuit for damages.
Comparative Fault in Connecticut
Connecticut operates under a “comparative fault” rule that reduces or eliminates damages in cases where the injured person is found to share some level of blame for the accident. In this scenario, the plaintiff can still recover some amount of damages even if they are partially at fault, as long as they are not more at fault than the others (that is, the plaintiff is not 51% or more at fault for the accident). This is also referred to as modified comparative negligence. In such a case, the defendant will generally only pay the amount corresponding to the percentage of fault the judge or jury assigns to them.
For instance, if a person was driving a few miles per hour above the posted speed limit when they pass an intersection and another driver who runs a red light hits the first person’s car, the speeding driver may be assigned 10% fault for the accident and the other driver 90% for running a red light. Under Connecticut’s modified comparative fault rule, then, the injured driver will receive the original damage award reduced by 10% due to their fault. That is, if the damages in this situation were $10,000, the injured person would receive $9,000 in damages. Note that if an injured driver is at fault for more than 50% of the incident, they will not be allowed to collect any damages.
Connecticut courts are required to apply the comparative fault rule in injury lawsuits that make it through trial. Insurance adjusters may also choose to bring up comparative fault during settlement negotiations, so it is best to prepare your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
For all types of cases heard in civil court, the statute of limitations governs how much time a plaintiff has to file their injury lawsuit. As mentioned earlier, in Connecticut, the statute of limitations to file is within 2 years of the date on which the plaintiff suffered the injury. This deadline is critical to keep in mind, as a person will lose their right to have their case heard after the 2-year window closes.
Be aware that the statute of limitations is shortened significantly if it involves a government entity. To file a claim against a member of the city or county, the injured person must notify the government entity of their intent to sue within 6 months, and the State Claims Commissioner must be notified of a claim against the state within 1 year.
Questions? Contact The Law Offices of Thomas J. Piscatelli, LLC.
If you have been involved in a car accident or some other personal injury incident, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to take legal action as soon as possible. With a statute of limitations extending only 2 years, it is critical that you promptly gather the facts of your incident and work with an attorney on building your civil case. Attorney Thomas J. Piscatelli is a wise and efficient trial litigator who knows how to put up a good fight in court. He will evaluate the circumstances of your injury case and craft a strong lawsuit in trial to fight for the damages you deserve.