Proving Fault in a Connecticut Car Accident
According to data from the Connecticut Crash Data Repository, there were 116,117 car accidents reported in Connecticut in 2016. As these statistics make clear, car crashes remain a serious public safety risk in our state.
Car accident victims have a legal right to compensation for their damages.
Connecticut is a ‘fault’ auto insurance state, so the party responsible for the accident is financially responsible for the resulting damages.
However, in many cases, establishing fault after an accident in Connecticut can be challenging. Car accident victims need to be ready since the opposing insurance company may try to deny their claim.
Here, our West Hartford, Connecticut car accident attorneys explain what you need to prove fault in a Connecticut auto accident case.
Negligence is a legal standard that refers to a party’s failure to act with a reasonable degree of care. In a car accident, for example, negligence refers to the failure to operate a vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.
That could be a result of speeding, drinking while driving, or using a cellphone (amongst other dangerous and irresponsible actions). Because Connecticut is an at-fault car insurance state, those parties whose negligent actions cause accidents are responsible for paying for damages that result.
Not all accidents are caused by the fault of merely one party. Because of that, Connecticut has implemented a modified comparative fault system of negligence, with a 51% bar.
As found in Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-572(h)(b), this means that if a plaintiff contributes to their own injuries, they will not be barred from recovering damages so long as their fault was not more than the combined fault of other parties (not 51 percent or more at fault).
However, a plaintiff’s recoverable damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
Get Strong Supporting Evidence
In some Connecticut auto accident cases, fault will not be disputed. Often, the negligent driver will admit that the accident is their fault. In other car accident claims, fault will not be so clear. Some drivers may even lie about their role in causing a crash.
If a dispute arises over who is at fault for your Connecticut auto accident, you need strong supporting evidence that will back up your side of the story. This is why it is so important to get a qualified Connecticut auto accident attorney by your side as soon as possible after a crash. Your attorney will be able to immediately investigate the accident, gathering and securing all of the evidence that is relevant to your case.
Some common forms of evidence that are used to prove fault includes:
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Photographs of your vehicle damage;
- The police report;
- Records of traffic tickets or citations issued in relation to the crash;
- Statements from supporting witnesses;
- Your own testimony; and
- Testimony from an accident recreation expert.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to protect your legal rights and financial interests is to obtain and preserve as much evidence as possible.
If a big insurance company is attempting to deny their driver’s fault for your crash, it is imperative that you are represented by a lawyer with the skills and experience necessary to help you make an effective legal claim.