You will receive at least several months' notice regarding your potential trial date. Once the case is scheduled for trial, you must plan for it. For instance, many people are surprised to learn that the actual trial can take several days and sometimes weeks. In addition, you will be required to sit through the entire trial, including jury selection. Connecticut is the only state that has individual questioning (voir dire) of potential people on the jury. The process of selecting a jury in Connecticut can take several days and, in complicated cases, it can sometimes take several weeks. In the weeks before your trial and especially during the trial, you will be meeting your attorney in order to prepare for the trial. During the trial, we will bring in witnesses on your behalf in order to prove the claims in your case. These witnesses may include family members, friends, medical providers, coworkers, the defendant and, of course, you.
- You will receive several months' notice prior to your potential trial date.
- You must plan to be available for the entire trial, which can take days or sometimes weeks.
- We will bring in witnesses on your behalf, including family members, friends, medical providers, the defendant and, of course, you.
- How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
If you are injured because of the fault or wrongful conduct of another person or entity, you may have the right to bring a lawsuit to recover money damages for your losses. Some examples of the types of incidents that give rise to personal injury claims include: car accidents; motorcycle accidents; falls; sexual abuse; workplace injuries; defective products; medical malpractice; legal malpractice; and nursing home negligence. You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to determine whether or not you have a case.
- How long do I have to file a personal injury claim or case?
Under the law, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit that is based upon the negligent conduct of another person or entity. The time limitation for filing a lawsuit varies, however, depending upon the nature of the claim. With certain types of claims there are also notice requirements that must be met before you file suit. It is therefore always wise to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to make certain that your case is not time-barred.
- How long will my personal injury case take?
How long a personal injury case takes depends upon a number of factors, including how long you are required to be treated for your injuries, whether the responsible party contests how the accident happened or whether it caused your injuries, and whether the responsible party and his insurance carrier fairly evaluate your case. Typically, if a case does not settle, it takes about two years from the time that a case is filed in court to be reached for trial.
- How much of my time will be required?
Unless your case goes to trial, the actual amount of time that will require your personal involvement in a personal injury case is relatively minimal. The initial office conference to discuss your claim usually takes about one hour. Follow-up conferences to check on your medical progress and to update you on your case generally take less time and can be done in the office or by phone. If a lawsuit is filed, you would likely need to come into the office to review and sign certain papers required under our court rules. You may also be required to answer questions under oath at a deposition, undergo a medical examination by a doctor selected by the other party, and attend a pretrial conference at court.
- How much will it cost to go forward with a personal injury case?
Under the law, attorney’s fees in personal injury cases are paid on a contingency fee* basis. This means the fee is paid at the end of the case and is calculated on the amount of the final settlement or judgment. The fee is 33-1/3% of the first $300,000 of recovery, 25% of the next $300,000, 20% on the next $300,000, 15% on the next $300,000, and 10% on any recovery over $1.2 million. In addition, any costs incurred for medical records, court filing fees, depositions, expert fees, etc. are deducted at the end of the case from the settlement or court judgment.
*Contingency fee is defined as payment to an attorney for legal services that depends, or is contingent, upon there being some recovery or award in the case. The payment is then a percentage of the amount recovered.You pay nothing unless payment/recovery is received.
- What damages am I entitled to claim in a personal injury case?
In Connecticut you are entitled to claim two types of damages – economic and non-economic. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for past and future out-of-pocket losses. These damages may include compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the past and future effects of the injuries on your life. These damages may include payment for your pain and suffering, permanent disability, and loss of enjoyment of your normal activities of daily living.
- What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?