If you have been injured in some type of accident in Connecticut, then you may have a viable claim for money damages. In order to prevail and collect money damages in a negligence case, you must prove four elements. Each one of the elements must be proven and if you cannot prove all four, then you may not be able to recover any money damages whatsoever. Although this might seem like a relatively simple process, collecting fair, just, and reasonable compensation in a CT accident or injury case can be quite difficult. This is especially so if you are representing yourself and do not have the knowledge, training, and experience in dealing with an insurance company adjuster or defense lawyer.
1. Establishing a Duty
The first element that must be proven in a negligence case is the establishment of a duty between the person that caused the accident and the injured party. If you are operating a motor vehicle on the roadway and another person violates a motor vehicle law that results in an accident, then you would have established a duty that was owed to you by the other driver. In other words, if someone operates their motor vehicle then they are required to abide by motor vehicle laws because they would have a duty to other motorists on the roadway. There is a duty owed by the operator of the vehicle, that causes an accident, to the injured party. On the other hand, if an adult is trespassing on the land of another person then there may not be a duty owed to that individual by the landowner or tenant, depending upon the circumstances.
2. Providing Breach of Duty
As you can well imagine, it is not enough to prove that one person owes a duty to another. The second step involves proving a breach of this duty. Generally speaking, if a person fails to exercise reasonable care in how they conduct themselves and this failure results in some type of an accident or injury to another, then there may be a breach of this duty. This breach of duty may be established by proving that the responsible party acted in a way that was unreasonable or failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. Naturally, there are exceptions and special circumstances that apply to every case so it is very important that you consult with an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer at the earliest possible moment because other issues might be present (like the sudden emergency doctrine, for example).
3. Providing Causation
After proving that a duty was owed and that there was a breach of that duty, the next element that must be proven is one of causation. It is not enough just to show that the injury was caused by the negligence of another person. You would also have to show that there is a legally sufficient connection between the accident and the injuries being claimed by the victim. This is sometimes referred to as the “but for” test which means that but for the actions of the at-fault party, the victim's injuries would not have occurred.
4. Proving Damages
The last element you would need to prove, in order to prevail in your personal injury case, is that of proving your damages. These damages could include your past medical bills and your future medical bills, your past lost wages and your future lost wages, psychological injuries, permanent injuries, disabilities suffered, pain, suffering, reduction or elimination of life's activities, property damage, or claims from a spouse for loss of consortium, if applicable. There are basically two types of damages that you can recover in a personal injury case. One is for economic damages which you can total based upon bills, lost income, future medical bills and lost wages, and property damage. The other type of damages- which are much more difficult to calculate- are noneconomic damages which deal with things such as pain, suffering, permanent disabilities, scars, loss of life's activities, and other damages that do not have a corresponding dollar value but rather can be estimated by an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer.
How a Lawyer Could Help
If you have been injured in some type of accident in Connecticut, it is very important that you consult with an experienced Connecticut injury attorney at the earliest possible moment. You need to find out what you should be doing and what you should not be doing. Our Connecticut accident lawyers will be happy to discuss your case with you without cost or obligation. If we feel that you do not need the services of a Connecticut injury lawyer then we will tell you that fact. We will also tell you what you need to do to help maximize the amount of your recovery if we do not feel that you need a CT injury lawyer. If we feel that you do need to have a Connecticut accident attorney representing you, we will go through the steps of what is involved in that process. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis and advance the costs to develop your case. This means that you do not have to come up with any money out of your own pocket and we are only paid a fee and recover our costs if we collect money damages for you. If there is no recovery then you would pay no legal fees and no costs.
Before you make a mistake in attempting to handle your own Connecticut accident case, contact us.