440 Main Street | Ridgefield, CT 06877

How To Collect Money Damages When You Are Injured in Multiple Accidents: How CT Law Apportions Damages When Your Doctor Cannot

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

A person is involved in a car accident, caused by the fault of another and injures their lumbar spine. Before the injured party has concluded their medical treatment they are involved in a second car accident where another injury occurs to their lumbar spine. The physician, who treats each injury, is unable to determine which accident caused what percentage of disability to the injured party’s spine.

The issue that comes up in this fact pattern is; how does a person get compensated for a permanent injury that was the result of one or more accidents? In other words, if the total disability to the lumbar spine is 20%, who is responsible for all and/or part of that percentage when the treating orthopedic doctor cannot attribute what the percentage of permanent disability was caused by which accident.

Connecticut has an apportionment statute, C.G.S. § 52-572(h), so the question is whether a jury can be called upon to apportion damages among multiple defendants in multiple accidents that have caused the same or similar injuries to the plaintiff.

The CT Appellate Court addressed this issue in the case of Card v. State. In Card, the plaintiff was injured in three separate accidents that occurred within seven months of each other. A lawsuit was filed as to each of the three defendants. The Plaintiff treated with the same doctor for each of
the three injuries.

At trial, the Plaintiff’s physician testified that each of the three accidents was a substantial factor in contributing to the Plaintiff’s injuries but it was impossible to determine to a reasonable degree of medical certainty how much of the total disability was attributable to each accident. The doctor ultimately testified that each of the three accidents contributed equally to the permanent disability suffered by the Plaintiff.

The verdict was appealed and the CT Appellate Court indicated that the trial court should not have allowed the doctor’s testimony into evidence because it was speculative and therefore inadmissible. However,
the Appellate Court also held that the Court should not have granted the Defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict obtained by the plaintiff in the trial court.

The Appellate Court went on to state, in analyzing our apportionment statute, 52-572(h), that in the rare case where damages cannot be
apportioned between two or more accidents, the plaintiff who can prove
causation should not be left without a remedy. One response to situations in which a jury is unable to make even a rough approximation of damages, is to apportion them equally among the various accidents.

The Card Court held that if the jury could not make even a
rough approximation, in each case, the jury must apportion the damages equally among each party whose negligent actions caused injury to the plaintiff, including settled or released persons as contemplated by the apportionment statute.

So if you receive injuries to the same or similar body
part(s), in multiple accidents, and your doctor cannot apportion the injury as to each accident, you can still receive compensation.

Get Answers to Your Stamford Connecticut Speeding Accident Worries

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

When you are seriously injured in a Stamford  Connecticu sppedng accident you have so many questions. Do you speak to the insurance company of the at fault driver? How do you investigate the Stamford Connecticut speeding accident? Who will interview the witnesses? How are all of your bills going to be paid? Who will pay you while you are out of work?

These are all important questions that need immediate answers. Don’t delay in getting the answers you need. Call us today.

Establishing a violation of Connecticut case law or common law or a Connecticut General Statute or statutory laws can prove determining fault in a Connencticut motor vehicle accident. How people are to operate a motor vehicle are set forth in article 14 of the general statutes. One such section might you able to prove a violation of could be speeding , which states:

Sec. 14-219. Speeding. (a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle (1) upon any highway, road or any parking area for ten cars or more, at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any occupant of such motor vehicle, but not the life of any other person than such an occupant; or (2) at a rate of speed greater than fifty-five miles per hour upon any highway other than a highway specified in subsection (b) of section 14-218a for which a speed limit has been established in accordance with the provisions of said subsection; (3) at a rate of speed greater than sixty-five miles per hour upon any highway specified in subsection (b) of section 14-218a for which a speed limit has been established in accordance with the provisions of said subsection; or (4) if such person is under eighteen years of age, upon any highway or road for which a speed limit of less than sixty-five miles per hour has been established in accordance with subsection (a) of section 14-218a, at a rate of speed twenty miles per hour or more above such speed limit.

Our Stamford Connecticut speeding accident and injury lawyers answer client calls and emails promptly so you can get answers to your important Stamford Connecticut speeding accident questions. You can rest assured that your case will get the attention it deserves. We have office locations throughout the State of Connecticut. If you are unable to come to us, we will gladly come to you whether at the hospital, your home or any other location you designate.  Also, many answers to your Stamford Connecticut speeding accident questions can be answered by downloading copy of our FREE book “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut”. You can also call us free at (888) 842-8466 or visit us online at www.hcwlaw.com. You can even tell us about your case online and we will contact you. Let us worry about your case, so you can concentrate on getting better.

We Can Relieve Your Bridgeport CT Car Accident Concerns

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

After being involved in a Bridgeport CT Car Accident case you experience a great deal of pain, you are tremendously concerned about what to do and you are scared and anxious about how you will be properly compensated for your losses. These concerns are very common and very real. We are here to help you through this very difficult time.

The first issue that must be proven in a personal injury case is
liability. In other words, you must first show that someone else cause or is responsible for the accident which result in the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiff. One way that you can establish liability is by proving first that the defendant violated one of the Connecticut General Statues related to fault. One of the statutory sections you might be able to prove was violated by the defendant is:

Sec. 14-222. Reckless driving. (a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway of the state, or any road of any specially chartered municipal association or of any district organized under the provisions of chapter 105, a purpose of which is the construction and maintenance of roads and sidewalks, or in any parking area for ten cars or more or upon any private road on which a speed limit has been established in accordance with the provisions of section 14-218a or upon any school property recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway, road, school property or parking area, the intersection of streets and the weather conditions. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person other than the operator of such motor vehicle, or the operation, downgrade, upon any highway, of any motor vehicle with a commercial registration with the clutch or gears disengaged, or the operation knowingly of a motor vehicle with defective mechanism, shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section. The operation of a motor vehicle upon any such highway, road or parking area for ten cars or more at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this section.

After being involved in a Bridgeport CT Car Accident case, you need to take a number of steps to strengthen the value of your claim and there are a number of things you could do to harm your case. Find out what to do and what not to do by ordering our FREE comprehensive book “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut”. Call us today at (888) 842-8466 or order it online at www.hcwlaw.com. By properly developing your Bridgeport CT Car Accident case from the start, you can increase the amount of money you can get for your injuries.

Avoiding Accidents While Driving on Black Ice: How New and Inexperienced Drivers Can Be Better Prepared To Drive On Icy Roadways

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

A common cause of winter motor vehicle accidents is a condition known as “black ice.” Black ice is a coating or a glaze that forms on roadway surfaces, sidewalks and driveways generally due to freezing rain or because of the melting and refreezing of snow or ice. It is commonly called black ice because it is clear and looks like the black surface which it covers.

Black ice forms without creating bubbles or the white sheen that is seen on most ice covered surfaces. Black ice is very dangerous because it is very hard to detect until you are right on top of it. Black ice usually forms when the temperature is just around the freezing point. Black ice can also form on roadways due to the heat of the tires which causes the ice to melt and then refreeze.

Black ice can be especially dangerous to the new or inexperienced driver so it is important to review a number of safety tips to help avoid these winter driving accidents.

An important consideration is to understand when and where black ice forms. Generally, black ice will form in the early morning hours or at night when the temperature drops or when the sun is not out to warm the roads. It can also be commonly found on roads that do not get much sunshine because the sun is blocked by trees or other objects. It can also be found more frequently on surfaces that are less traveled upon.

These slippery surfaces are more common on overpasses and bridges because cold air is able to pass over and under these roadways causing them to freeze faster. The roads located under bridges and overpasses also tend to freeze quicker because they are shielded from the sun. So if you are driving during these times or on these types of roadways be especially careful and always be prepared for the possibility of encountering black ice.

Although black ice is clear, so it can be very difficult to see under most driving situations, it can be easier to see under certain lighting conditions or if you are looking for it. Most times, black ice is very smooth and very glossy so the roadway without black ice will appear a dull black color. If the roadway looks shiny then you are probably about to drive over black ice. Another indication is if you suddenly see cars sliding, skidding or swerving for no apparent reason then black ice is probably present on the road. Although you will not always be able to detect black ice it is helpful to be on the lookout for it and to constantly assess the roadways you are on and what lies ahead.

One of the best ways to prepare a newly licensed or inexperienced driver to  for these driving conditions is to practice driving on ice, in a controlled and safe environment, like a large empty parking lot, with an experienced driver. Practice braking and steering on ice to get a feel for how the vehicle reacts. Allow the new driver to get a feeling of how the car reacts and practice safe and defensive driving techniques. Be sure to teach, review and practice a number of safety tips such as:

  1. In driving on black ice it is best not to panic or hit the brakes and do not turn suddenly to one side or the other. Generally, you should do as little as possible and just allow the vehicle to safely pass over the slippery surface;
  2.  If you feel the back of your vehicle sliding out to the left or right, gently and slowly turn the steering wheel in the same direction. If you try and turn your vehicle in the opposite direction then you run the very real risk of spinning out of control and getting into an accident;
  3. Once you realize you are about to go over or on black ice take your foot off of the gas pedal and keep your steering wheel, whenever possible, in the same direction it is in when you entered the icy surface;
  4. If you are driving a vehicle with a standard transmission, and it is safe to do so, downshift as the lower gears will give you more control;
  5. If you are able to steer to an area that is not covered in black ice or is sanded, and it is safe to do so, slowly go to that area;
  6.  Realize that black ice is patchy so you should hopefully find better traction shortly;
  7. If you skid and are going to go off of the road try and steer towards something that will cause the least amount of damage possible like an empty area; and
  8. After you have had your black ice encounter stay calm and if you must continue driving do so very cautiously. Flash your lights to warn oncoming traffic of the hazard they are about to encounter.

You can also do several things to reduce your risk of getting into an accident if you should encounter black ice:

  1. Do not drive, whenever possible, in conditions that are especially dangerous;
  2. Make sure your vehicle is functioning properly including having the proper tires and tread depth;
  3. Travel with your lights on so you can more easily spot black ice and be more visible to other vehicles;
  4. Drive slowly and keep a safe distance apart from other vehicles;
  5. Do not have any distractions about or around you; and
  6. Make sure your windshield is cleared so you can properly see outside your vehicle.

Using these safety tips and techniques can help you to prevent a winter driving accident and can save you, your family members or others on the road from suffering a serious injury or even death.

You’ve Been in an Accident. You are Injured. Do you need a lawyer? What will the lawyer cost? How do you pick a lawyer? What if….?

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

People who are injured in a car, truck, motorcycle or some other type of CT accident generally have questions about their case that are commonly asked of  lawyers. Generally speaking, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in any type of an accident so you can have your rights explained to you and so you can be advised as to what you should do and just as importantly, learn what you should not be doing. If you do not need the services of a lawyer then a reputable and experienced accident lawyer can tell you how you should proceed with your case. Often times, an injured party will first speak with an insurance adjuster who will attempt to greatly compromise the injured person’s case by pointing out potential liability problems, will down play the injuries or will try to convince the injured party that they do not need  the services of a lawyer. It is very important that you first speak with a lawyer so you do not make any critical mistakes in the handling of your claim that can otherwise greatly reduce the value of your case.

Another question that is frequently asked is how much the lawyer will charge to give advice to the injured party. At Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP we never charge for an initial consultation for any injured party. If we decide to take your case then it will be handled on a contingency fee basis which means we are not paid unless we collect money for you. We also understand that many injured people do not have the money to pay for expert opinions, investigative work, medical records and reports and other expenses which need to be paid to develop the case which is why our firm advances all costs. Those costs are repaid to us at the conclusion of your case out of your recovery. If there is no recovery then you will not owe us for our costs and you will not owe us any legal fees. There is no financial risk for you as our firm takes all of that responsibility so you can concentrate on getting better.

If you cannot leave the hospital, a rehabilitative care facility, your home or some other location then we can meet with you. One of our attorneys can drive to a location selected by you so you can tell our attorney the facts of your case so we can determine how we can best help you. If we decide to take your case we can get started on our investigation immediately and will keep you updated as to our progress. We are very accessible and can be reached at our office, via email and on our cell phones after hours and on weekends if you need immediate answers.

Many times people want to know if they will have to go to court and the answer is statistically; no. Most cases settle without the need to go to trial. In many instances, this will be determined by how well your case is investigated and developed, the strength of your case, your injuries and damages, the experience and reputation of your lawyer or law firm and a number of other factors. You will have many questions as you proceed with your recovery and need to get prompt answers to your important questions. We pride ourselves on being very communicative and responsive. We realize this is a very difficult time made worse by physical pain, economic pressures and fear related to uncertainty. We have been doing this for decades and we know what to do and will be there every step of the way to guide you through this process.

We are sometimes contacted by injured people who are unhappy with their current lawyer or who want to switch lawyers and we are asked if this can be done. This answer is; yes, of course. An injured victim of an accident is free to discharge their current lawyer and hire a new lawyer at any step of the case. If our firm decides to take your case where you were represented by another lawyer, we will have you sign a retainer agreement with our firm and we will then deal directly with your old lawyer to get you file transferred over to our office. You will not have to have any further contact with your prior lawyer. Any fee owed to your old lawyer will be paid by our firm without you having to pay any more money than you would have paid your old firm if you left your file there. In other words, if you later hire our firm it will not cost you any extra money than if you kept your old firm.

If you are looking to hire a lawyer and want to get a sense of who might be a good fit for you then you should do some or all of the following: if the firm offers a free book on injury law, get it and read it (our firm offers such a free book); read the lawyers bio; see what awards or recognition the lawyer or firm received; are any of the lawyers  published authors who have received awards (one of our lawyers is a bestselling author); call the firm and speak with one of the lawyers you are interested in hiring and ask all of your questions; schedule a free consultation and get a feel for whether or not this is someone that you want to work with; and conduct whatever other due diligence you deem appropriate.

The most important thing to remember is to contact an attorney as soon as possible so you are protected. So before you hire a lawyer, speak to an insurance adjuster or sign any paperwork, get a copy of our free book “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims.”  The book, the call and the consultation are all free. Call us at (888) 842-8466 or visit us at www.hcwlaw.com.

WHAT IS MY CT ACCIDENT OR INJURY CASE WORTH?

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

What is my Connecticut accident or injury case worth? This is one of the first questions we are asked at a new client interview by someone who has been recently injured through the fault of another. Recently, there are a number of attorneys who claim to be able to have you input numbers into an injury case evaluator to advise you of the value of your case. If someone claims to be able to tell you the value of your case, right after you have been injured, I would not consider hiring them.

I saw such an evaluation tool online that promised to tell the injured party the value of their case.  I knew what they were going to do in advance but was curious to see how they would go about it. I inputted data about an accident including what happened, the current hospital and medical bills and the injuries sustained. I answered all of the questions asked.  I received an email response indicating that the attorney, who was on the west coast, wanted to talk to me about my CT accident case.

I responded to the lawyer, via email, that I just wanted to get the value of the case. I was told he needed more information and wanted to speak with me. I emailed him back and asked what else he needed. He responded with additional information that was not previously requested. I responded again with the missing data and asked for the value of the case. I received yet another email indicating that evaluating a case was a complicated situation and that he needed to speak with me. I responded via email that he promised to tell me the value of the case but still had not done so.

I then received another email stating that I needed to speak with this certain attorney in CT who was very highly regarded and would be able to answer my questions. I emailed him back and stated that my only question was what the case was worth. This west coast attorney concluded by stating that I needed to speak with this CT attorney. I knew when I first emailed that lawyer, requesting an evaluation, that I could not and would not be given one because there are far too many variables that are missing at the beginning of a case to give any type of meaningful evaluation of the case’s value.

So if you are injured in an accident one of your first questions should be what can I be doing to help increase the value of my case rather than what is my case worth. Our FREE book “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” will tell you what you can be doing to increase the value of your injury case. We even have a chapter entitled “What is my Case Worth” that tells you what factors go into determining the ultimate value of your case.

So if you want free practical answers to your questions and no nonsense advice on what you should be doing, get our book emailed to you today by visiting www.hcwlaw.com. You can also call us at 888.842.8466 or fill out our online form and we can call you. We will even travel to meet with you if you want. The book, the call and the advice are all free. We will even advance all of your costs and only get paid if we collect money for you. Contact us today.

Recovering Damages When No Direct Proof of Negligence Exists

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

What happens when you are seriously injured, allegedly by the negligence of another, but you are unable to produce any direct evident of the fault of a third party?  Would Connecticut law allow you to prevail in such a case?

Enter the doctrine of res ipra loquitor, Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”, which is a legal theory that permits a jury to infer negligence when no direct evidence of negligence has been introduced.

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that the doctrine of res ipra loquitor applies only when two prerequisites exist.  Those requirements are:  first, the situation, condition or apparatus causing the injury must be such that in the ordinary course of events, no injury would have occurred unless someone had been negligent; and second, at the time of the injury, both inspection and operation must have been in control of the party charged with neglect.

If both of these prerequisites are satisfied, a fact finder (a Judge or jury), may properly conclude that it is more likely than not that the injury in question was caused by the defendant’s negligence.  Giles v. New Haven (1997).

In Giles, the plaintiff was an elevator operator who was injured in an elevator accident.  The plaintiff sued for failing to properly inspect, maintain and repair the offending elevator.  The plaintiff did not present any direct evidence of these claims but instead relied upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor.  Our Supreme Court held that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to warrant presentation of the question of negligence, under the doctrine of res ipra loquitor, to the jury.

Other Connecticut cases where the doctrine has been held to apply involve:  the cable of an amusement park ride that broke, which threw the plaintiff to the ground; a woman passing by a store who was injured when glass from the store’s window fell upon her; a person who was injured when a suitcase fell from a baggage rack onto her head; a wheel came which came off a truck and struck an indiviual who was walking on the sidewalk; and a person in a hospital waiting room had a TV fall onto her head and injure her.

It should be stressed that every case is fact specific and must be viewed in the totality of the circumstances but if you are injured and have no direct proof of negligence, you still might be able to prevail in your claim under the theory of res ipsa loquitor.

Notice Provision Must Be Complied With on a Timely Basis

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

Your Connecticut car accident case can completely overwhelm you.
What should you do? What should you not do? Have you done anything to harm
your case? How will this case be investigated? Contact us today so we can
get you a FREE copy of our book “The Crash Course On Personal Injury Claims
in Connecticut” so you can get all of your questions answered.

You should be aware that studies have shown that experienced lawyers can negotiate settlements and obtain judgments that are many times higher than what the injured parties can negotiate for themselves.   In other words, in most cases, you will do better after paying the lawyer than you would if you attempted to negotiate your own settlement with insurance company claims adjusters. Your personal injury case could be fraught with many different complications and issues which would make handling your case without hiring a lawyer very difficult. An example of one of those types of issues might include:

NOTICE PROVISIONS

There are also certain notice provisions that have very short limitation periods, especially those that relate to local, state, or federal governmental entities.  In certain circumstances, if you do not comply with the statutory notice provisions, you may lose the right to file your lawsuit even if you act within the applicable statute of limitations period.

The statute of limitations in any particular case may be somewhat difficult to calculate, because a claim may involve different causes of action against different defendants.  Once you miscalculate when the statute has run or fail to properly provide statutory notice, your claim may be forever barred despite its validity or the extent of your damages.

Call us today to speak to us about your case. Our
consultations are FREE. We can help answer your questions and we can put you
at ease so you know what you need to be doing. We will even send you our
book, “The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut” for FREE.
There is no obligation, so call us at (888) 842-8466 today; even the call is
FREE.

Dead Teen’s Family Settles Connecticut Personal Injury Suit

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

The family of a Connecticut teenager killed in a car accident has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against a former police officer and the owner of a tavern where authorities say the ex-officer drank alcohol before the crash.

Court documents obtained by The Associated Press show Henry Dang’s family recently settled the lawsuit against former Windsor Locks Officer Michael Koistinen (KOY’-stih-nen), the owner of the Suffield Tavern and Koistinen’s father, police Sergeant Robert Koistinen.

Terms of the agreement filed September 14 weren’t disclosed. Lawyers in the case didn’t immediately return messages.

Authorities say Michael Koistinen was off-duty and driving more than 70 miles-an-hour in a 35 mile-an-hour zone when his car struck the 15-year-old Dang last year in Windsor Locks. Koistinen was fired and now awaits trial on manslaughter and other charges.

 

Out Of Sadness, Ridgefield’s Community Can Effect Crucial Change

Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Stamford, Connecticut

We, as a community, are devastated by the recent tragedy that claimed the life of young Jacqueline Brice. That much is all too clear.

As a parent, I can’t begin to comprehend the unimaginable grief endured by Jacqueline’s family and friends.

And as members of this small town, we all mourn with the Brices.

It was reported that the Brice family is looking for some good to come from this loss so that perhaps another family might be spared the horror they’ve endured. I began to imagine after I heard this news what could be done to make some sort of difference.

And last Saturday my son and I took the two-hour mandatory parent/student education class required by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, a prerequisite for the 16- or 17-year-old wanting his or her license.

As I listened to the information aimed at educating parents and teens in how to make our children better drivers and instructing parents to become active participants in our children’s ongoing driver training, it dawned on me that the proper time for this class is not before our teens get their licenses but before they get their permits.

Imagine if we as parents were taught by the state DMV how to best act as teachers of our children and assist them in becoming better drivers. If our teens were taught practical tips and techniques to avoid accidents before they get their permits, as well as defensive driving techniques, then some of these accidents might be avoided through better habits learned at a younger age.

And it should be stressed by the DMV that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that carries with it very weighty consequences — consequences that could result in situations no family should have to endure.

I got in touch with my friends State Reps. John Frey and Richard Smith. I told them I wanted to see how we could amend the current law to require this parent/teen safety course before a teen gets their permit rather than before they get their license. I told them I wanted to help create a movie that would be shown to all parents and teens during their two-hour driver training course to introduce important safety information to teens and give parents the chance to be a part of their child’s learning experience. I also discussed these thoughts with Michael Gibney of the Ridgefield Patch as a way of spreading the word. These ideas were met with great enthusiasm.

I am requesting ideas and comments from the community — of a strictly constructive and respectful nature, please — that may help reduce the frequency of these horrible accidents. Some good may someday come out of Jacqueline’s tragic death, and we as a community can help bring it about with ideas and action.

I have a mug in our kitchen that says, “Ridgefield, a small town is like a big family.” I hope the Brice family feels our collective sense of loss and I hope this may bring them some modicum of comfort.

I look forward to hearing your ideas.