I have suffered injury through the fault of another party. What are my options?
Personal injury law is one of the most contentious arenas in the practice of law, because there is so much at stake for all of the parties involved. Personal Injury claims/Tort claims/Civil claims occur when an individual or entity "wrongs" another, and that "wrong" results in a "legal injury" or "cause of action". There are various types of "causes of action". The most appropriate legal remedy available to compensate an injured party is to award money damages. Damages should be fair, just and reasonable compensation for the injuries suffered, and can include awards for medical expenses, property damage, lost earnings or loss of earning capacity, permanent disability or disfigurement and, most importantly, pain and suffering.
Most people possess insurance policies for their homes, cars, health care and businesses. However, it should be completely understood that when it comes time for an insurance company to act on their insured's behalf, they do not part easily with policy money. Even when an insurance company "agrees to liability", (meaning its insured was legally at fault), seldom does the company ever want to pay the true value of the claim.
As a plaintiff, you need qualified legal representation to accurately advise you on whether you have a valid claim to bring and, if so, the value of it.
What do I do if I am involved in a motor vehicle accident?
The majority of personal injury claims arise from automobile accidents. If you are involved in such a situation, you should follow these steps that will aid in the documentation and future presentation of your potential claim:
- At the scene, speak only to law enforcement or medical professionals.
- Seek immediate emergency care for your injuries and consult with your private physician, making sure to provide to each medical provider you see a complete and accurate history as to the injuries arising from the motor vehicle accident.
- Consult an attorney. Legal representation is essential in the pursuit of your claim in order to achieve the highest level of success.
- Immediately notify your own motor vehicle insurance carrier of the accident and provide your attorney with the coverage selections page for your own auto insurance policy in effect at the time.
- Take photographs of your vehicle, the other vehicle, if possible, the location of the accident, including all relevant street signs and any markings on the roadway and all evidence of your injuries, including any bruises and lacerations.
- Record the names and addresses of any potential witnesses.
- Obtain and make copies of any medical bills and/or co-pays you incur because of the accident.
- Keep an accurate log as to how much time you were forced to miss from work because of the accident, as you may have a potential claim for lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity.
How long will it take for my injury claim to be resolved?
If you bring a motor vehicle claim and fully expect to be compensated appropriately for your injuries, the earliest the claim can be settled is when your doctor releases you from care and informs your attorney if you have a permanent disability. No claim should be settled until you have completed all your medical treatment and your doctor has issued a final report. Generally, most soft-tissue injury claims are resolved within one (1) year depending upon your length of treatment. If you are more seriously injured and/or the claim cannot be settled without commencing a lawsuit, then the claim can take additional years to resolve.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Connecticut has a two (2) year statute of limitations that governs almost all injury claims. This requires that a lawsuit must be commenced in court within two (2) years of the date of your injury.