What must victims prove when making Connecticut personal injury claims?

Connecticut law requires personal injury victims to file claims within fixed deadlines and prove another party’s negligence directly caused the injury.

Each year, countless people in New Haven and other parts of Connecticut suffer harm because other parties acted carelessly or recklessly. In some cases, people who are seriously injured during these incidents might be able to recover financial compensation by making personal injury claims. However, in order to hold another party liable, victims must first establish all of the following facts.

Negligence caused the injury

According to materials from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, victims must show that they suffered injuries because another party acted negligently. Negligence is a failure to exhibit the reasonable care owed to others. For example, someone who chooses to drive while intoxicated is not exercising appropriate care toward other motorists. If an impaired driver causes an accident and injures other people, he or she may be considered negligent.

Victims also must prove that the other party's negligence directly caused the injury. If the injury still would have occurred in the absence of the negligent conduct, the other party cannot be held liable.

Negligence was a primary factor

Injury victims must also establish that negligence was a "substantial factor" in causing the injury. Another party may not be found liable if his or her actions only contributed minimally to the injury. Additionally, victims may not be able to recover compensation if their own negligence is deemed a significant factor in the accident.

The injury risk was foreseeable

People making personal injury claims must also show that the other party's actions could reasonably have been expected to result in injury. This may be more straightforward in cases that involve violations of local statutes, since such violations may represent negligence. For instance, drivers may be considered negligent if they cause injurious car accidents while doing the following things, which could reasonably be expected to endanger others:

  • Driving recklessly or at unreasonable speeds
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Passing in an unsafe manner
  • Operating a vehicle with unsafe tires or brakes

In other situations, meeting this requirement may be more difficult. Fortunately, injury victims do not have to establish that the other party was cognizant of the risk or should have recognized it. Instead, victims can prove that a reasonable person in the same situation would have been aware of the danger.

The filing date was appropriate

The general statute of limitations for Connecticut personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury. However, if an injury was not immediately apparent, a victim is given two years from the date that the injury was discovered to file a claim. Victims must document this date and show that they could not reasonably have been expected to discover the injury sooner.

Legal help can be invaluable

Given all of these requirements, many personal injury victims may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney during the claim process. An attorney may be able to help a person secure necessary documentation and prove that all of these criteria are satisfied.