Frequently Asked Questions

HCW FAQ Personal Injury Law Connecticut

Answers to Common Personal Injury Questions

If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your accident, you will most likely have a lot of questions. Our skilled attorneys are ready to answer them! Below, we provide you with valuable insight as to how you should pursue your case and how to ensure you do everything in your power to make your case successful.

What should I do immediately after my automobile accident?

The first thing you should do is make sure that you are not in a position where you could be hit by another vehicle. You should tell the police officer why the other party was at fault. It is recommended that, if possible, you take as many pictures as you can at the accident from a variety of different angles so that the extent of the damage will be captured as well the positioning of the vehicles will be memorialized and you will be able to document any other pieces of evidence that could help your potential case.

If injured, you should make sure that you are either taken to the emergency room of the local hospital by ambulance or obtain a ride there immediately after the accident. Make sure to tell the doctor about all the aches and pains you are experiencing resulting from the accident. Provide the doctor with a medical history that indicates any prior injuries that could have been made worse following the accident.

It is important to contact an experienced Connecticut accident lawyer as soon as possible so you can have your rights explained to you and find out what you should be doing and what you should not be doing. Most importantly, do not speak to the insurance adjuster of the at-fault party or give any recorded statement.

What if I was partially at fault in the accident?

In Connecticut, even if you are partially at fault in the accident you can still recover money damages. Connecticut follows what is called the modified comparative negligence standard. This means that if you are 50% or less at fault in the accident then you can recover money damages which will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, if your case is worth $100,000 and you are found to be 30% at fault then you can be awarded the sum of $70,000. If you are more than 50% at fault then you will not be able to recover anything. It is very important that you contact a personal injury lawyer at the earliest possible moment so that you can fully understand the law as it relates to the specific facts of your case and find out what you can do to help maximize the amount of money that you were able to get for your accident or injury case.

How do I know if I have a case?

This is not a decision that you need to make on your own. The only thing that you need to do is to contact a personal injury lawyer who will ask you about the facts of your case, inquire about your particular situation, and then will advise you as to what you need to be doing and if you have a case.
Generally speaking, if you have been injured as a result of the fault of another then you will have a case. Sometimes people think that because they did not have a license, or that their vehicle was not registered, or that they did not have insurance that they cannot file a claim against the at-fault party. These things would not stop you from filing a claim so it is important that you get all of your questions answered and have an injury lawyer explain everything to you in detail.

What if I had a pre-existing injury or condition?

You can still recover money damages if you had a pre-existing injury or condition that was exacerbated or made worse by the accident that you were most recently involved in. There is case law in Connecticut that holds that if you have a pre-existing injury that is made worse or aggravated by the negligence of another then you can recover money damages for the increased injury that you sustained as a result of the actions of this third party.  Again, it is very important that you get the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer at the earliest possible moment.

I told the police officer at the accident site that I was not hurt or I did not get any medical care and treatment until days or weeks after the accident. Do I still have a case?

It is not uncommon for a person who is been injured in an accident to not experience pain or develop other symptoms until some extended period of time after the accident. The body's biological response to a traumatic situation is to either go into shock or send adrenaline throughout your body to temporarily reduce the sensation of or symptoms related to pain.
You may not start to feel significant pain or develop other complications until days or weeks after your accident. It is very important, given these facts, that you seek immediate medical care and attention after the accident so that you can be examined by a doctor to determine the nature and extent of your injuries. If you experience delayed pain or symptoms or a serious condition then you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

How do you pay a Connecticut personal injury attorney?

Many people think that they cannot afford to hire a Connecticut personal injury attorney because they do not have any money. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means that the attorneys do not get paid unless they recover compensation on your behalf.

Most Connecticut personal injury attorneys will also advance the costs to develop your case so you will not have to come up with any money out of your pocket. If there is no recovery then you will owe no costs and no fees to the attorney. This type of financial arrangement allows personal injury lawyers to level the playing field so that people with little or no money can hire an experienced accident lawyer to represent them.

We understand that it is an important decision when hiring an attorney. We provide new clients with a no-cost, no fee, 30-day guarantee. If you hire us to represent you for your case then within the first 30 days of signing the retainer agreement you can discharge us for any reason. You will owe us no legal fees and you will not have to repay us any costs, which we expended on your behalf.

How do I pay my medical bills while my case is pending?

Most people think that the insurance company of the person that caused your accident is going to pay your medical bills as you receive care and treatment. This is not the case and it will not happen. The insurance company wants to place you in a position of financial distress so that you will be motivated to settle your case for the least amount of money possible.
There are many ways that you can get your medical bills paid during the life of your case. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and have medical payments coverage available to you then your medical bills will be paid under the applicable motor vehicle insurance policy. If you do not have medical payments coverage, or if your medical payments coverage is been exhausted, your medical bills will then be paid for through your health insurance carrier.
If you do not have medical insurance then your attorney might be able to arrange for you to get medical care and treatment under a letter of protection. A letter of protection is a letter that you signed to your doctor or healthcare provider which says that they will be paid at the conclusion of your case from the proceeds that you received from the insurance company. There may be other ways to get your medical bills paid, for example through a workers' compensation claim, so it is important to consult with an experienced injury lawyer at the earliest possible moment.

How long will it take to resolve my personal injury claim?

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial but are resolved through a negotiated settlement. The time it takes to reach a settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company depends upon a great number of circumstances. Generally speaking, the more complicated your case and the more significant your damages are the longer it will take to resolve your case through a settlement. There are exceptions to this general rule which could include a situation where the at-fault party has insurance limits that are below the value of your case. If you have other insurance coverage available to you then your case could be resolved with the at-fault parties' insurance company sooner rather than later and then you could proceed against the other available insurance carriers. This is an important conversation to have with your lawyer as you proceed through the development of your case.

How do I receive my lost income while my case is pending?

Again, the insurance company representing the person who caused your accident will not be paying your lost income claim during the pendency of your case. You might have personal injury protection available to you under your motor vehicle insurance policy that might provide for the payment of your lost income up to the stated amount. You might also have available to you a disability benefit to your employer or you could be compensated for a workers compensation claim. Is very important that you discuss this aspect of your case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Are personal injury settlements taxable?

In general, no. The money you receive in a personal injury settlement is not taxable income because it is intended to replace out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of your injury. However, if you are concerned about whether or not your settlement may be taxable you should consult with a Connecticut tax professional

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Connecticut?

The State of Connecticut limits the amount of time in which you have to file a lawsuit for injuries to a person or property caused by negligence, misconduct, or malpractice. The limitation is set forth in, among other places, the Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-584 and provides that you have two years from the date of the accident in which to commence suit. This statute could be extended, in certain circumstances, for up to an additional year.

It is important to point out that certain claims, mostly involving local, state, or federal entities, have much shorter periods of time in which you must file the appropriate statutory notice which could be as early as several months after the accident or injury. The important thing to note is that you should not wait before contacting an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney so that you do not miss the appropriate notice filing or statute of limitations deadline.

What happens if the insurance adjuster that represents the person that caused my accident contacts me and wants to ask me questions?

The reason that the insurance adjuster will want to speak with you is to gather as much information as possible to either reduce the value of your case or to tell you that you do not have any case whatsoever. The adjuster will tell you that before your claim can be processed they need to find out what happened, what medical care and treatment you received, what injuries you sustained, what lost income you are experiencing, what pre-existing injuries or prior accidents you were involved in and a great number of other questions that you should never answer.
Instead, you should tell the insurance adjuster that you have a lawyer and that you will have this person get in touch with the adjuster and you have been advised not to answer any questions. Get the adjuster's name, telephone number, and claim number so that your attorney can get back in touch with this individual.

Can I switch attorneys for my accident or injury case?

Yes, you can switch attorneys for your accident or injury case at any time. Sometimes clients who are represented by other attorneys contact us and are looking to hire a new attorney. We would be happy to sit down and meet with any injured party who is looking to switch lawyers to review their situation.

If an injured party wants to switch attorneys they will not have to pay any more money than they would have had to pay the previous lawyer. The previous lawyer and our firm are required to work out the eventual fee or arbitrate the issue, based upon a large number of factors such as the amount of time each firm spends on the file, the work performed, etc.

How much money can I get from my accident case?

This is one of the first questions that a potential new client will want to be answered. It will not be possible for any personal injury lawyer to answer that question at the initial client interview. There are a number of different factors that will determine the value of your case such as, but not limited to: your injuries/disabilities, treatment, ongoing treatment, and damages. There is a lot of information that needs to be obtained over time in order to determine the value of your case. If you meet with a Connecticut personal injury attorney that tells you the value of your case at the initial client interview then you should consider hiring a different attorney.

What damages can I receive compensation for in my personal injury claim?

Basically stated, there are two types of damages that you can recover in a personal injury action which are economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those damages that you can add up to the penny in a relatively easy to determine. For example, your total medical bills lost income and earning capacity, future medical care and treatment, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, prescription charges, and any other accident-related damages that you can add up to the penny.

Non-economic damages are much more subjective and are an art- rather than a science- in how you determine their value. These damages include things like pain, suffering, loss of life's activities, a permanent disability, a scar, loss of consortium if applicable, and a number of other more subjective damages that do not have a specific dollar amount.

How are pain and suffering calculated?

There are several different methods that can be used to calculate damages for pain and suffering, but most of the time these calculations take into account several things: the amount of medical treatment required (and related expenses), the length of recovery, the severity, and type of injury.

What happens if I decide to settle my case?

If you decide to settle your case, the at-fault party's insurance company will send a general release for you to sign. The release provides that you will “release” all of your claims against any outfall party and their insurance company. Once this document is signed you cannot go back to the insurance company to request any more money. In some cases, this also could involve your spouse who may have a separate claim for loss of consortium.

If I settle my case, how long will it take me to get my check?

Once you sign the release and it is sent back to the adjuster, it will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks for us to get your check, negotiate, and provide you with the settlement statement that sets forth exactly what's disbursements are being made on your behalf. Any money damages paid for pain-and-suffering are not taxable and you should check with your accountant to see if any part of your settlement will be subject to taxes.

Need legal representation for your injury? Call (203) 438-7450 or click here for a free virtual consultation.


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