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New Haven Personal Injury Law Blog

Three lawsuits consolidated after Interstate 95 crash

A truck-car accident in Waterford that killed three of the four occupants of the car has led to four lawsuits on behalf of the deceased, three of which have now been combined into a single action.

The accident occurred when traffic on Interstate Freeway 95 had slowed because of an earlier accident. The truck rear-ended the passenger car. One of the two children of the driver, who was seriously injured, died at the scene; her boyfriend and her other child died later from the injuries that they sustained.

Pedestrians face risks posed by distracted driver mistakes

Pedestrians usually end up being the losers in an auto-pedestrian accident. Rules, such as those requiring drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, have been enacted into law in Connecticut in an effort to protect people from drivers whose failure to yield can prove deadly. Unfortunately, laws cannot prevent a person from being injured while walking on the street when drivers ignore them.

Such was the situation recently on a street in New Haven when motorist’s failure to observe a woman crossing the street resulted in her being taken to the hospital for medical treatment. According to witnesses who saw the pedestrian accident, the driver of the vehicle appeared to be looking down at his cellphone instead of looking at the road and what was happening in from of him.

Strategic considerations following a drunk-driver accident

Getting into any car accident with another driver is never a good thing, but being involved in an accident that involves a drunk driver almost always makes things worse. Drivers under the influence of alcohol frequently engage in behaviors that make accident consequences more serious, such as driving too fast or crossing the centerline to cause a head-on collision.

If there is anything that might qualify as "good news" about getting into a vehicle collision with a drunk driver, it may be that establishing fault can be easier to prove, and that may also make the other driver's insurance company (assuming that he or she has insurance) more willing to settle the matter without the need for litigation. But even then you can still experience difficulties, starting with the strong possibility that the insurance company will attempt to low-ball its settlement offer with you, counting on your not being able to know what the most appropriate settlement would be.

Distracted walking" -- how serious a problem is it?

When vehicle-pedestrian accidents occur, the temptation is to automatically blame the driver. But is this always the case? Evidence suggests that the inquiry should be more open to examining the behaviors of the pedestrians as well.

Distracted driving is a recognized phenomenon in Connecticut and elsewhere in the United States; states are increasingly enacting laws to penalize drivers who text and drive or otherwise use handheld devices. But the next time you are walking downtown, look about you and see how many people are walking and texting at the same time, or who have their headsets on and are concentrating more on listening to music or a streaming podcast than on where they are going. There are enough such people that they have earned a nickname: "deadwalkers". And more and more of them are walking into traffic.

How worn tires could lead to car accidents

Your tires are some of the most important parts of your car. Yet, they are often the most ignored, unless one pops or otherwise goes flat. Yet, not doing proper maintenance of your tires could lead to a greater risk of accidents, especially on Connecticut’s slick winter roads.

Even when the tread is only halfway worn, tires lose a significant amount of grip. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently conducted a study on 11,500 vehicles. Of those, nearly half had at least one tire with a tread that was worn out, and 10 percent had a tire that was completely bald. 

How bad tires could lead to a car accident

The tires on your car are one of its most important components. Yet, it is also one of the most overlooked. Neglecting the health of your tires could lead to a car accident, especially when it is raining or Connecticut’s brutal snowy winter sets in. Here are some issues you need to look out for to make sure you are safe on the road.

You should personally check your tires regularly for signs of excessive wear. More than that, it is a good idea to have them inspected by a professional monthly. This is especially true if you are about to head out on a long road trip. Any signs of excessive wear could be cause for concern.

Drunk driving trends in Connecticut

No matter where you go within the United States, if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, you will be charged with driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or a similar offense. Even without the legal aspect of it, being a drunk driver can lead to a fatal accident. Connecticut has strict laws regarding the act, but drivers still choose to drive after having too many drinks.

From 2003 to 2012, more than 1,000 Connecticut drivers were killed in drunk driving accidents. While this is lower than the national average, it is still more than it should be. In addition, about 2 percent self-reported they drove after they had too much to drink. This is just a bit higher than the national average. 

What happens if I do not win my case at trial?

Seeking compensation from another driver or that person's insurer after a car accident can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process even if you prevail at trial. And not every plaintiff is successful in the courtroom. If you have gone through the process of seeking recompense for your personal injury and property loss as the result of a collision with another driver, and the matter not only did not settle before trial but the jury's decision went against you, you will need to decide whether to appeal that decision to a Connecticut appellate court.

When contemplating an appeal, the first question you must be able to answer is whether the trial court committed a "prejudicial error". What this means is that not only did the court make a mistake during the proceeding, but also that the error caused you harm ("harmless errors" are not good grounds upon which to base an appeal). A good way to think of an error as prejudicial is to ask whether, had the court not made the mistake in question, you would have prevailed in the trial.

Are funeral expenses recoverable for Connecticut wrongful death?

A fatal car accident in New Haven can leave those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one with difficult decisions to make about the accident. When a person is killed or injured as the result of the negligence of another, Connecticut laws allow the accident victim or, in cases in which the victim was killed, the representative of the victim’s estate to file a claim for compensation.

Wrongful death claims may be filed by the executor or by the administrator of an accident victim’s estate. Members of the grieving family are not authorized under state law to file the lawsuit seeking damages caused by the death of the accident victim.

I've been offered a settlement of my claim. Should I accept it?

Insurance companies have a few things in common. In their advertising they all want you to believe that they are "on your side," and that "like a good neighbor" you are "in good hands" with them. Something else they have in common is that they are profit-driven businesses that are driven ultimately by their bottom lines and not by altruism. What this can mean to you is that if you are involved in a car accident here in Alabama you may discover a side to your insurer, or if another driver was at fault his insurer, that may not be quite as friendly as they were before the accident happened.

At some point during negotiations with your or the other driver's insurer, you may receive a settlement offer for any personal injury and property loss that you have suffered. But if you are not employed in the insurance industry and do not otherwise know how it works, how will you know whether the offer you receive is fair in the sense that it provides you with the full amount of compensation you will require? A quick rule of thumb is, if the offer is the first one you have received, it probably isn't.

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