If you’ve suffered a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may have legal recourse (also known as a cause of action) for pursuing a claim against the responsible individual or entity. In simpler terms, if someone acted in a careless manner that caused you harm, that person is legally liable.
Personal injury cases generally revolve around two key elements – liability of the party at fault and extent of your injuries (both physical and emotional). A personal injury attorney will consider and discuss the potential success of your case.
Although the most common type of personal injury cases are auto accidents, there are many other instances of negligence that may merit compensation.
Connecticut Negligence Laws
In Connecticut, your attorney will need to prove negligence in order to file a personal injury claim on your behalf. Connecticut defines negligence as:
“When someone’s actions or inaction violate specific standards of conduct and lead to injury, that person will be required to compensate the injured party.”
In simpler terms, if another driver runs a red light and causes you injury, that driver has committed an act of negligence. If your Connecticut personal injury claim is to be successful, there are five elements of negligence you must prove:
- ◉ The person you want to sue owed you a duty of care. Examples of relationships that might create a legal duty include a doctor owing a patient competent medical care, or a driver being expected to safely operate a motor vehicle with a certain level of due care. Due care simply means the degree of care that most people would take under the same or similar circumstances.
- ◉ The other party breached their duty to you. This is determined by whether the other party did or did not behave in a way that a “reasonably prudent person” would under similar circumstances. A clear example would be a nearsighted driver not wearing his or her glasses and then hitting a pedestrian. That would most likely be considered negligence, as the average reasonable person who needs glasses would not drive without them.
- ◉ The other party’s conduct caused the harm you suffered. The third element requires that you show that the other party’s negligence actually caused your injury; it’s not enough that the other person is just acting negligently. You also need to look at whether the other person could reasonably have expected or foreseen that her or his actions might cause you harm. If, for example, your injury was due to a random, unexpected act of nature, it’s unlikely the other party would be found liable.
- ◉ The proximate cause of your injuries was foreseeable. The term “proximate cause” simply means substantial factor. In the case of negligence, you must prove that the other party could reasonably foresee the harmful consequences of his or her actions; or, in non-legalese, “they should have known better” than to take a certain action because harm could occur.
◉ You suffered damages due to the other party’s conduct. The element of damages requires that the court be able to compensate you, the plaintiff, for your injury. This compensation is typically monetary payment for expenses such as property repair or personal medical care. Keep in mind that under Connecticut’s rules of court, an award of damages is not used to punish a party for their negligence. Instead, it is meant to compensate injured parties for their losses. There is no set mathematical formula in making a determination of how much damages an injured person should recover.
Connecticut personal injury statutes are complex, and it’s possible that statute of limitations issues could affect your ability to make a claim or file a lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been injured due to another party’s negligence, a legal claim may be worth considering and pursuing. No matter your type of personal injury, Shepro & Hawkins has a long and successful track record of holding at-fault parties accountable for their negligent actions. Let us help you gather the information and evidence you need to learn more about your claim and determine your best course of action.