Year after year, car accidents remain a leading cause of death* in the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), over 42,000 people were killed in auto accidents nationwide in 2020 alone. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) further reports that the number of auto-accident fatalities in Connecticut reached a five-year average of 295* in that same year.
If you were involved in a car accident, you might be wondering how you will pay for costly medical bills and make up your lost wages if you cannot work due to your injuries. If you bear little to no fault for the accident, you are likely entitled to legal compensation from the at-fault party. Do not wait to have your case reviewed by an experienced Hartford car accident attorney.
One of the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Hartford
At Jainchill & Beckert, LLC, our car accident attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience defending the rights of auto accident victims throughout Connecticut. We are ready to help you too. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Hartford car accident lawyer.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Hartford?
In most cases, multiple factors conspire to give rise to an auto accident. Some form of driver error is normally involved.
Common causes of auto accidents include the following:
- Intoxicated driving – As we all know, alcohol dulls reflexes and impairs judgment, thereby increasing the likelihood of risky behavior behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people die in auto accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers every day in the United States. This translates to one death every 50 minutes.
- Distracted driving – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people lost their lives to distracted driving in 2020 alone. Though any distraction may lead to a car accident, texting is the most common. To illustrate, a car moving at 55 miles per hour will travel the length of a football field in about five seconds, the average amount of time it takes to read a text message. Imagine the accidents that could arise while traveling that distance with your eyes off the road.
- Aggressive driving – This is a broad category that includes things like weaving through traffic, road rage, changing lanes unsafely, turning at high speed, and failure to yield the right of way. However, speeding is by far the most common form of aggressive driving and has been involved in one-third of all auto accident deaths for the past two decades. Tragically, speeding led to 11,258 traffic deaths nationwide in 2020. If you notice that another driver is speeding, it is best to keep your distance.
- Poor road conditions – Bad weather and poorly designed roads can make it difficult for drivers to avoid collisions. All motorists are responsible for adjusting their driving to account for unsafe road conditions. However, if poor road maintenance causes an accident, the government entity responsible for keeping roads in good shape may ultimately be liable. Suing government entities comes with unique complexities and requires the attention of a skilled lawyer.
- Mechanical defects – Some accidents can be traced back to design or manufacturing defects in a vehicle or its parts. Though relatively rare, these accidents may lead to product liability for the manufacturer or vendor. Because this case type is generally more complex and less common than others, it is important that victims injured by defective products have an experienced attorney in their corner.
What Damages Can I Recover Through a Hartford Auto Accident Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a car crash at little to no fault of your own, chances are you are entitled to legal compensation from the at-fault party.
Injured accident victims can seek compensation for:
- Medical costs associated with treating your injuries
- Lost wages and lowered earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lowered quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Lost or damaged property
When an injury victim dies in a car accident, their estate can also seek a wide variety of compensation through a survival action against the at-fault driver. No matter the circumstances of your loss, our car accident injury attorneys stand by to help.
Who Will Pay for My Recovery After a Car Crash in Hartford?
In most cases, injury victims in auto accidents are compensated through insurance. In the past, Connecticut was a “no-fault” state when it came to car insurance. This meant that all drivers were expected to file a claim with their own auto insurer to cover their injuries and losses in the event of an accident, even when they did not cause the crash.
This changed when Connecticut switched to a fault-based system in 1994. As in most other states, car accident victims can now seek compensation for their injuries and losses by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
To make sure compensation is available, drivers in Connecticut are required to carry at least the following minimum levels of auto insurance:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 in property damage liability per accident
Of course, despite these legal requirements, not all drivers follow the law. In fact, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), one in eight drivers (12.6 percent) nationwide had no auto insurance in 2019. Fortunately, the uninsured motorist rate is somewhat lower in Connecticut (6.3 percent).
In the event, that there is insufficient auto insurance to cover their losses, injured victims can try to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. However, because most uninsured drivers will not have sufficient assets to pay for the damage they cause in an accident, this route is likely a dead end. To prepare for this scenario, all drivers should consider purchasing Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist coverage.
Is There a Deadline for Filing Car Accident Claims in Connecticut?
Yes. In most cases, the statute of limitations in Connecticut gives you two years from the date of a crash to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the at-fault party. Though very limited exceptions exist, missing the two-year deadline nearly always results in your case being dismissed in court.
In turn, by losing the ability to sue in court in the event a reasonable settlement cannot be reached with the at-fault party and their insurers, you will severely undermine your position during out-of-court settlement negotiations. In fact, you will have little choice but to accept the opposing party’s lowest offer, assuming their insurer does not deny your claim altogether.
To avoid complications and ensure you do not lose your right to seek compensation in court, you should have your case reviewed by a Hartford car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Our Hartford personal injury attorneys are ready to evaluate and handle your case. Call a car accident attorney in Hartford today.
Our Car Accident Attorneys in Hartford Can Help
The car accident lawyers at Jainchill & Beckert, LLC believe that all car accident victims deserve excellent legal representation. If you were injured in an auto accident at little to no fault of your own, we are ready to make sure you understand your rights and are not taken advantage of on your route to maximum compensation. Contact our Hartford personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation with an experienced Hartford car accident lawyer.
Here are several resources for victims of car accidents in Hartford, CT:
- Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT): The CTDOT website provides information on road safety, accident statistics, and resources for victims of car accidents. Visit their website at CTDOT.
- Connecticut Office of Victim Services (OVS): OVS provides support and assistance to victims of crime, including victims of car accidents. They offer resources such as counseling, financial assistance, and guidance through the criminal justice process. Visit their website at Connecticut Office of Victim Services.
- Connecticut State Police – Troop H Hartford: The Connecticut State Police Troop H in Hartford may offer resources and assistance for victims of car accidents, including accident reports and guidance on the next steps. You can find more information on the Connecticut State Police website or by contacting Troop H directly.
- Hartford Healthcare Trauma Services: Hartford Healthcare Trauma Services provides support and resources for victims of traumatic events, including car accidents. They offer trauma counseling, support groups, and rehabilitation services. You can learn more about their services on the Hartford Healthcare website.
- Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (The Alliance): While primarily focused on sexual violence, The Alliance may also provide support and resources for victims of other types of trauma, including car accidents. They offer counseling services and referrals to other support organizations. Visit their website at The Alliance.
- Connecticut Legal Services: Although you requested not to include law firms, Connecticut Legal Services is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to low-income individuals. They may offer guidance on legal matters related to car accidents, such as insurance claims and rights of victims. Visit their website at Connecticut Legal Services.
These resources should provide valuable support and assistance to victims of car accidents in Hartford, CT.