Connecticut uses the rule of modified comparative negligence when dealing with car crash claims. This means two things:
- Firstly, you cannot make a successful claim if the court finds you are more at fault than the other party – i.e. if you were more than 50% to blame.
- Secondly, provided your fault is below that cut-off point, the court will reduce anything it awards you by the percentage it considers you were at fault. So, if you are awarded $100,000, but the court says you were 20% at fault, you will lose $20,000 and only receive $80,000.
Here are some other things that can affect how much you can claim:
The extent of your injuries
A few cuts and bruises will not merit as much compensation as a broken leg. Something like partial paralysis could warrant far more. The payments are based on the medical costs involved and the effect the injuries have on your life.
Your ability to work
Being injured in a car accident will likely cost you some earnings. Even if you only need a few days off work, you can claim for the lost wages. In some cases, you may need to claim much more, because you will be unable ever to work again, or unable to work again in the same role — in which case you might get long-term compensation and help retraining.
Pain and suffering
If another driver’s actions mean that you now suffer mental or physical pain, you can seek compensation for that. Remember, these can sometimes last for years or forever.
Damage to your property
If your laptop was smashed during the crash and your child’s seat needs replacing, compensation should cover these. Equally, it should cover any damage to your vehicle.
Recklessness on the part of the other driver
Courts can sometimes punish a truly reckless driver by doubling or tripling the amount of compensation they award the other party. These are punitive damages, that aren’t tied directly to your losses but meant to discourage others from acting the same way.
Do not underestimate the costs of a car crash. It can affect you in ways you might not yet realize. Learning more about your compensation options will be crucial.