If you have been in a car accident in Connecticut, you should know your rights and responsibilities. Diligently assessing damages and filing an insurance claim can bring some financial relief after a wreck, but sometimes this does not do enough to cover damages — physical, emotional or material.
In these cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation, but act quickly. State law allows certain windows of time when your claim may be eligible.
Statute of limitations
As FindLaw explains, the statute of limitations in Connecticut for a personal injury claim is two years in most cases; for a property lawsuit, the limit is three years. Missing this window generally disqualifies you from seeking damages. However, in some cases, you may gain up to an additional year if you discover new evidence.
This is not license to put off your claim if you think you have reason to file a lawsuit. The sooner you bring your claim, the more favorably courts tend to respond; the integrity of evidence and witness statements generally degrade over time.
During this window of time, Connecticut does not limit the amount of damages a court can order. You also may be able to receive damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Connecticut subscribes to the doctrine of comparative negligence, meaning that courts calculate damages on a sliding scale based on the degree of fault it ascribes to each party. So long as you are less than 50% at fault for the accident, you may qualify for compensation.
Common damages in Connecticut include compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses not covered by your insurance, lost wages for time out of work and property damage including items in the vehicle with you. Sometimes a court will order punitive damages if there is reason to believe the defendant acted intentionally or “with reckless disregard.”
If you discover injuries or damage years down the road, you will likely not be able to seek damages. Act quickly if you suspect future suffering from your accident. Generally, the sooner you bring a claim, the better your chances of receiving compensation.