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Can You Still Sue If You Were In A Car Accident But Weren’t Wearing A Seat Belt?

Last updated on April 12, 2023

Connecticut law requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. You can be fined $92 for not wearing your seat belt or having a passenger wear one. The law does not prohibit the driver or passenger from filing a claim if they are involved in an accident and were not wearing a seat belt. Depending on the accident and the type of injuries that were sustained, the lack of seat belt use might not affect the case.

If you intend to sue the other parties involved, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim in a car accident case, otherwise known as a statute of limitations. After two years, you will not be able to file a lawsuit. You are allowed to file a claim regardless of whether you were wearing your seat belt during the accident.

Connecticut follows a modified comparative negligence principle when it comes to car accident compensation cases. Under this rule, you would be able to recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, the court will not allow you to collect any damages.

Here is an example: You are suing a driver for damages arising out of a car accident. At trial, the jury decides that the total amount of damages is $100,000. The jury also decides that you were 10% at fault and that the other driver was 90% at fault. In that case, you would be able to recover 90% of $100,000, or $90,000.

If you sustained more serious injuries due to the lack of a seat belt, you are still able to sue and claim your medical bills relating to those injuries.

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Please contact us at Tremont Sheldon P.C. today by calling 203-212-9075 or sending an email through our website to see how our lawyers can help. It is important to call soon after your accident.

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

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 on 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 or her insurance carrier fairly evaluate your case. Typically, if a case does not settle, a case reaches trial approximately two years from the time that it is filed in court.

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 noneconomic. 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. Noneconomic 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.

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 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 33.33 percent of the first $300,000 of recovery, 25 percent of the next $300,000, 20 percent on the next $300,000, 15 percent on the next $300,000, and 10 percent 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.

Can I sue someone if I am hurt at their home?

Property owners are responsible for the condition of their property. Dangerous property conditions must be swiftly addressed to keep those who may be visiting the property safe. Any given property could have security concerns or an area where guests and visitors might be more prone to a fall. Or, homeowners in Connecticut may not have their pets properly secured, leading to one of the most common causes of serious injuries: dog bites.

Whatever the circumstances of the injury you suffered, it is important to consider your options to attempt to recover compensation so that you can pay for medical expenses. In the case of a private homeowner, perhaps all you will need to do is submit a claim against the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

You are also allowed to sue a family member or submit a claim against a family member’s insurance policy. For example, you are at your aunt’s house and her dog bites you or you are at your cousin’s house and you fall through the deck. You are allowed to sue family members under Connecticut law in order to recover money to pay for your injuries and medical treatment.