Unlike the handful of no-fault insurance states that require drivers to file accident claims with their own insurance company, in Connecticut, it matters who causes an accident or how much each driver contributed to the accident. Connecticut operates under modified comparative negligence insurance laws. This can benefit those drivers partly responsible for an accident by allowing them to recover a portion of their losses, such as property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for their pain and suffering. These are known as “damages” in car accidents and personal injury claims in New Haven. However, because insurance companies sometimes take advantage of this fault-based system to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay out on a claim, it’s important to completely understand how Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence laws work after a car accident.
What Does Modified Comparative Negligence Mean?
Some states, like California, have pure comparative negligence insurance laws that allow even drivers who were 99% at fault to claim one percent of their damages. However, in a modified comparative negligence insurance state like Connecticut, drivers who are 50% or more at fault cannot recover compensation for their damages because the state considers them responsible for the accident.
How Does the Modified Comparative Negligence Law Work After a Car Accident?
After an accident, the insurance companies of the involved drivers review the police report and any other available evidence to determine the cause of the accident and who was at fault. Then they break it down to each driver’s percentage of fault. In some accidents, one driver is clearly at fault—for instance, a drunk driver who causes an accident or a distracted driver who drives through a red light—but in other situations, the fault isn’t as clear. For example, one driver may rear-end another car because they were following too closely, but what if the front driver hit their brakes very suddenly due to a squirrel in the road?
It pays to hire an attorney to defend your rights and best interests by investigating all aspects of the accident and protect against an insurance company’s attempts to assign an undue percentage of fault to minimize the amount they must payout on a claim.
Can I Still Recover Compensation for Damages If I’m Partly Responsible for an Accident in Connecticut?
After an accident that was completely caused by the other driver’s negligence or recklessness, you could recover 100% of your damages like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If your damages add up to $100,000, you’ll recover the full amount. But what if you were partly at fault for the accident?
Under Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence insurance laws, drivers may still gain compensation for their damages as long as they were less than 50% at fault for a car accident. For example, if the thorough investigation shows that you were speeding at the time an accident occurred, you could be considered 20% at fault for the accident even if the other driver rolled through a stop sign. In this case, if your damages amount to $100,000, you can still recover $80,000.
By documenting evidence at the scene of a car accident—for instance, by using a cell phone camera to take pictures of the scene before the police move the vehicles, and/or by adding the contact information of eyewitnesses—you can help protect your right to full compensation when someone else was at fault for the accident.