It was an ordinary day in Connecticut: you were headed from the west campus of Yale to Wooster Square to try out a new restaurant, and some driver who was going 95 on the I-95 lost control, sending both her car and yours off the side of the road and into a concrete barrier. Your car is scrap metal, your back feels like it is too, and you need money for treatment and a new car. The most likely outcome here is a car accident settlement. Read on to learn more about the Connecticut car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Connecticut?
Drivers are required to report an accident within 5 days if there is at least $1,000 in damage to property. In most cases, it is advisable to contact the nearest law enforcement agency, which will file a report using the state-provided form,
Connecticut Car Insurance Laws
Connecticut's mandatory minimum insurance requirements include liability coverage of:
- $20,000 in coverage for a single person accident injury or death
- $40,000 if more than one person is injured or killed
- $10,000 in property damage coverage
- $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Connecticut?
Though a few cases do go to trial, especially those where there are questions about which driver is at fault, nearly all cases actually settle, as trials are a big risk -- parties don't want to spend years arguing over a car accident claim and preparing a case, only to lose at trial.
Settlement ensures a guaranteed payout, plus it means saving on legal fees that would accrue in preparation for a courtroom battle. Instead, settlement ends the case informally for a mutually agreeable remedy, and parties drop the pending lawsuit after putting the terms of the settlement in writing.
Connecticut does not require mandatory settlement conferences or other alternatives to litigation, but either party can file a request to have a judge attempt to help the parties settle the dispute without a trial. Even without a judge's help, it is almost always the case that your attorney will discuss settlement options with you and the other party.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Connecticut?
There is no average, and there is no way to tell you exactly what your case is worth without reviewing the individual facts of your car accident. For example, a fender bender causes less pain, anguish, and property damage than a drunk driver who kills an entire family. Add in hard-to-prove cases, such as a dispute over which driver had the red light in a collision in an intersection, and settlements can vary widely.
When determining what a fair settlement amount in your case would be, the parties and their attorneys will likely consider:
- How much each party was at fault
- How much evidence there is of fault and damages
- Insurance coverage (insurance companies won’t pay more than policy limits)
- Car repairs
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages from time away from work
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Connecticut?
Connecticut has a time limit (Statute of Limitations) for filing a legal case: you have between two and three years from the date of the crash to file your initial lawsuit -- the limit varies depending on the type of injury (personal or property damage) and the level of fault (negligent, reckless, or wanton indifference).
This limit is almost never extended -- even if you have a pending claim with an insurance company -- so it is in your interest to speak to an attorney in order to ensure that you still have time to file a lawsuit if needed. An attorney is especially important in Connecticut due to the uncertainties in the time limit.
Get Professional Help With Connecticut's Car Accident Settlement Process
Settlement agreements are nearly always final and binding; without the advice of an attorney, you could end up with an insufficient amount to cover your injuries or you could even waive claims altogether. An experienced Connecticut car accident attorney can protect you from these mistakes and prevent other issues.