Answering Your Personal Injury Questions
- What are my rights as the victim of an auto accident?
- Who pays for the property damage to my car?
- Am I entitled to a rental vehicle while my car is being repaired?
- Who pays for my medical bills while I’m being treated? What if I have no medical coverage?
- What if the party at fault has no insurance? Can I still pursue an injury claim?
- Will the insurance company for the at fault driver advance payments to cover my out-of-pocket expenses?
- What is my case worth?
- What do attorneys charge for representation in auto accident cases?
If you have been injured through someone else’s negligence, Connecticut law entitles the victim of an auto accident to reasonable compensation for injuries suffered, medical bills, out-of-pocket losses, past and future economic losses by way of lost wages or salary, past pain and suffering, and future pain and suffering, where appropriate.
The at-fault party’s insurance company will be responsible for damage to your car. However, oftentimes it is easier and quicker to pursue a damage claim directly under your collision coverage.
If your own insurance provides rental coverage, it is often easier to work with your carrier. Your coverage is applicable regardless of who may be at fault. However, if you don’t have such coverage, a claim may be filed against the liability coverage of the at-fault party. In that case, you may request a “like kind and quality rental vehicle.”
Who pays towing, storage and vehicle rental charges?
Again, if your policy provides for such coverage, you may file a claim against your coverage. However, a claim may also be filed against the liability coverage of the at fault driver.
How is vehicle property damage calculated and can it be negotiated?
Connecticut is a two-source state. Property damage adjusters are entitled to take the difference between the NADA book value and a market survey in determining vehicle property damage. Adjusters can take appropriate offsets for high mileage and prior damage. In some cases, claims can be negotiated based upon recent mechanical work done to the car or special customized parts that may be under-valued by an appraisal.
You may have medical payment coverage under your own auto policy or under the policy covering the vehicle in which you are a passenger. If not, medical bills should be submitted to your personal health care insurance. Ultimately, the at-fault party will be responsible to you or your health care insurer for reimbursement.
You can pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM” or “UIM”) claim under your own auto insurance policy. This insurance coverage applies if you have been hit by an uninsured driver or where the coverage of the at-fault driver is insufficient to pay for your damages. “UM” and “UIM” coverage is mandated by law. You should consult with an attorney before filing a claim.
Will the insurance company for the at fault driver advance payments to cover my out-of-pocket expenses?
In most cases, no. Rarely will insurance companies consider advancing money without a full and final settlement of the claim.
Case value depends upon a number of important factors including but not limited to the nature, extent and severity of injuries suffered, the amount of medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred, the amount of lost wages or salary, any permanent injury, past and future pain and suffering, and where appropriate, diminished capacity. Typically all of those factors are analyzed at the conclusion of medical treatment in order to arrive at a reasonable case value for negotiation purposes. It is not possible to evaluate at an early stage. An attorney, however, can help at arriving at a value for your case that is both just and reasonable.
Representation in personal injury cases alleging negligence is based on contingency rates established by Connecticut law. Typically, an attorney charges one-third of any gross settlement or jury award, plus costs advanced on behalf of a client. Verdicts and settlements in excess of $300,000 have special rules applicable to the amount attorneys charge and fees in those cases are subject to a sliding scale.
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