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New Haven Personal Injury Law Blog

Police gather evidence in fatal bicycle accident

Determining if a negligent driver was the cause of a pedestrian accident usually focuses on the actions taken by the driver immediately prior to the impact. A distracted driver whose failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk is just one example of a situation in which fault might be clear.

Sometimes, however, the evidence does not clearly establish that one party in an accident, particularly an auto-pedestrian accident, was the only one at fault. A Connecticut bicycle accident in which the driver of a pickup truck struck and killed the rider illustrates how the evidence uncovered in an investigation requires careful analysis before it is clear which party might be at fault.

Car crash shows how personal injury can lead to wrongful death

A recent two-car accident on Connecticut Route 20 that initially caused five injuries has led to its first death, that of a six-year-old girl who was a passenger in one of the vehicles, nearly a week after the event. The incident offers a glimpse into some of the considerations that must go into making any decision whether to pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims in connection with any car or truck collision.

The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation, including the participation of accident reconstruction specialists. What is known is that the two vehicles involved apparently hit each other head-on.

Truck accident cases require the best use of your resources

Being in a collision with a commercial truck brings to mind many negative images, such as what can happen when you come into contact with something much bigger and heavier than you are. If you incur damages not only to your vehicle but to your person in the form of injuries, the "size does matter" consideration can extend beyond the accident itself to its aftermath.

To begin with, when trying to determine who was responsible for what happened, you may quickly feel like you are doing battle with an Octopus. Was it the driver of the truck? Was it someone responsible for faulty maintenance? If the driver was not properly trained, or was fatigued from operating too many hours, is the truck company that he or she worked for to blame for that? How can you find out who to focus on when it comes to compensation claims? 

What damages are recoverable in a fatal motor vehicle accident?

It is one thing to understand that if you have lost a loved one in an automobile accident that you may have recourse to the law to seek recompense for the costs connected with the untimely death of that person. But aside from theory, what exactly are you entitled to seek when negotiating with an insurance company or seeking resolution through court?

The answer to this question can be found in the civil jury instructions of Connecticut. These instructions summarize and standardize the damages that you and the other survivors of the deceased may be entitled to in connection with an action for wrongful death.

What happens if I am in an accident with a state vehicle?

The state of Connecticut owns a fleet of motor vehicles for the official use if its employees in the performance of their employment. If you are involved in a car accident with one of these vehicles, and the driver of the state-owned vehicle is at least partially at fault, what effect does government ownership of the other vehicle have on your legal right to file a lawsuit for money damages?

In some respects it can be difficult to sue the state government because the doctrine of sovereign immunity can act to bar legal claims against it. This doctrine is known as "sovereign immunity." Fortunately, though, a statute exists that allows people who have been injured or whose property has been damaged in an accident with a state-owned vehicle to file a civil lawsuit, so sovereign immunity does not apply under these circumstances.

What damages are available from a fatal car accident?

The worst part of a fatal motor vehicle accident is without doubt the emotional trauma that immediately for the survivors of the deceased following the event. With the passage of time the shock subsides, and at some point those who have lost a loved one because of the negligent or reckless behavior of another driver must come to grips with how they will make do in the future without the economic and personal contributions of that person.

Connecticut law provides one way to help those who have had a family member suddenly torn away from them in the form of a wrongful death action against the person or company that was responsible for their loss. Setting aside for the moment the particulars of how to file and what must be proven to prevail in such a lawsuit, for our purposes here we address the types of money damages that can be recovered after a successful wrongful death claim in court.

Can a bar be liable to the victim of a drunk driving accident?

The victim of a drunk driving accident may be entitled to do more than seek compensation for the negligence of the drunk driver. A bar, restaurant or other commercial establishment that sells or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is intoxicated could be liable if the person has a car accident and causes serious injuries to someone.

The Connecticut statute that imposes liability on the seller of alcohol to an intoxicated individual is referred to as the dram shop law. The wording of the law would appear to require that the server of the alcohol must be aware that the customer is intoxicated before he or she is served. There is a $250,000 limit on the amount that a car accident victim may recover against the bar or restaurant.

Driver seriously injured after colliding with dump truck

On the morning of May 30, 2015, a driver was seriously injured after colliding head-on with a dump truck in Brooklyn, Connecticut. According to the police, the driver was driving a Ford on Route 6 by Laurel Hill Road when he or she swerved into the path of the dump truck.

Although the driver of the dump truck was not injured, the driver of the Ford suffered very serious injuries and was taken to the hospital. The accident is still under investigation. 

Can I recover damages from a negligent driver if I was negligent?

If suffer a personal injury in a car accident in New Haven County, you would normally have the right to seek damages from a negligent driver who was responsible for causing the accident. However, things get a bit more complicated when your negligence might also have contributed to the accident or to your injuries. Fortunately, Connecticut laws do not bar you from recovering, but they may limit the amount that you will receive in a lawsuit or in a settlement.

At one time, a plaintiff in a lawsuit to recover damages as a result of a car crash would have been prohibited from doing so if the defendant could prove that the negligence of the plaintiff contributed to causing either the accident or the injuries. For instance, a passenger in a vehicle who suffered catastrophic injuries in an auto accident would not be able to recover for pain and suffering if the negligent driver could prove the injured party was injured because he or she was not wearing a seat belt.

Upholding your recovery rights in car vs. pedestrian accidents

Frequently when we see stories about traffic accidents, the focus is on the drivers and the passengers. Less frequently asked is the question of whether there were any pedestrians involved, but in a modern society in which people on foot must coexist with automobiles and trucks on a daily basis, the rights of the pedestrian can too easily forgotten. Some drivers can lose sight of the fact that it is not just other drivers they need to be looking out for, and the result can be that something as simple as crossing a street can become a life-altering injury event instead.

If a car driver wrongly contests your right-of-way as a pedestrian, it can be for a variety of reasons: he was on the phone, texting or talking; or was distracted by a passenger or something else happening in the car, like groping for that cigarette lighter that fell to the floor; or maybe even under the influence of alcohol or some other intoxicant that reduced his ability to react properly to your presence in the crosswalk. Regardless of the reason why you are struck, the outcome is usually the same: you lose, at least in the short term. 

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