Connecticut is a “fault” state for auto insurance purposes. The state allows motorists to file a claim against the other party’s insurance policy when seeking accident-related damages.
Understanding the crucial differences between “fault” and “no-fault” systems can help you feel prepared to take the necessary steps if you suffer injuries in a traffic collision caused by someone else.
What Is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Insurance?
Regarding car insurance laws, states fall into two broad groups: “fault” states and “no-fault” states. In a “fault” state like Connecticut, a driver who causes an accident is liable for the resulting financial losses. For example, if a motorist runs a red light and hits another vehicle, the driver who violated the traffic law would be legally responsible for paying for the other driver’s accident-related costs. These costs may include medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost wages. “Fault” states require motorists to carry an insurance policy that will cover such expenses if they are at fault for a crash.
In a “no-fault” state, the law typically requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) in addition to liability insurance. This is because drivers file a claim with their own insurer to recover losses regardless of who was at fault for an accident. In these states, an injured party may only seek damages from another driver under specific circumstances when their own insurance does not cover the full extent of their accident-related losses.
What Are the Car Insurance Requirements in Connecticut?
All “at-fault” states have different insurance laws. In Connecticut, anyone who registers a vehicle needs to purchase liability insurance policies with the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
- $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability
These policies help motorists who cause an accident pay for other people’s medical and property losses. Vehicle owners can purchase extra liability coverage. But the law requires at least the above insurance amounts for each registered vehicle.
How do I pay my medical bills for injuries suffered in a Car Accident?
Medical bills incurred because of injuries suffered in a Connecticut Car Accident can cause stress and anxiety. You can protect yourself by purchasing medical payments coverage or “Med-Pay” when you buy car insurance. This coverage would be the primary source of payment for your medical bills. Typically this coverage has limits of $1,000, $3,000 or $5,000. If you have this coverage, your medical bills will be paid without a deductible or a co-pay. You typically have one year from the date of the collision to make a claim for benefit under this coverage.
If you do not have “Med-Pay”, you can process your bills through your own health insurance. You will be reimbursed for any co-pays or deductibles as part of your settlement.
If you do not have insurance to pay your medical bills, you should work with an attorney who can assist you in identifying health care professionals that would be willing to defer billing until such time as your case is resolved.
What If I Was Partially At Fault for the Accident?
Connecticut is a modified comparative negligence state. That means those who are less than 51 percent at fault can still recover compensation from the at-fault driver. However, the amount they can receive will be reduced by their percentage of responsibility for the accident. For example, a driver who is 25 percent at fault will only be able to recover 75 percent of their losses.
How Do I Prove Who Is At Fault for a Car Accident?
Determining and proving who is at fault for an accident is a complex matter that usually requires the professional experience of a qualified car accident attorney.
When you hire a car accident lawyer, they can secure and use evidence such as:
- The responding police officer’s accident report
- Photos and videos of the accident
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Opinions of accident reconstruction experts
Drivers often assume they bear some responsibility for an accident only to learn they don’t after a thorough investigation. That’s why you should never admit fault or apologize after an accident. Consult with an experienced Hartford car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and determine whether you may still be eligible to file a claim.
What Should I Do If I Have Been in a Car Accident?
Taking these steps after an accident can optimize your recovery and your potential to file a successful claim:
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine.
- Document the crash by taking photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries.
- Avoid making statements online about the collision or your injuries.
- Consult with a skilled Connecticut car accident attorney who can build a solid case and seek the full compensation you deserve.
What If the Other Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) can pay for your losses if the at-fault driver lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage. In addition to the liability insurance minimums, Connecticut requires drivers to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance at the following minimum levels:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per traffic accident
As with liability insurance, Connecticut residents can buy UM/UIM coverage with higher policy limits. If your losses exceed the amount of your coverage, you can file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver directly.
What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Does Not Cover All of My Damages?
Your UIM coverage can pay for accident-related losses that exceed the amount an underinsured driver can cover. If your UIM insurance still does not cover your losses, you can take legal action against the at-fault motorist. An experienced Connecticut car accident attorney can handle all the legal work necessary to pursue the compensation you need to recover.
How Long Do I Have to Report My Auto Accident?
Each insurance policy is different. However, you should report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible to avoid negative effects on your policy or claim.
There is also a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Connecticut. The law requires claimants to file legal action within two years of the accident date. Working with a skilled attorney can ensure that you do not miss this crucial deadline.
Contact a Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Connecticut, the attorneys at Jainchill & Beckert, LLC are ready to give you and your case the attention and respect you deserve. Our hardworking legal team understands how difficult life can become after an accident. We will do everything we can to demand the compensation you need. Contact us today for a free case review to learn more about how we can help you.