In 2020, even with pandemic-related traffic decreases, there were 301 fatalities on Connecticut roads. This is a significant number over the 216 in 2019 under normal traffic patterns. Unfortunately, no matter how carefully you drive, it only takes one reckless driver to cause severe injuries and even death. At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we make it our mission to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. If you or someone you love suffered injuries or lost their life in a wreck, reach out to a Bridgeport car accident attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer like Bert McDowell is prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Causes Car Accidents in Bridgeport?
Motor vehicle crashes can happen for a variety of reasons. Frequently, it comes down to the careless actions of another driver. The most common causes of car accidents in our state include the following.
Cell Phone Use
Almost everyone has a cell phone these days, and it’s usually never far from them. However, using a cell phone while driving can create a severe risk. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety completed a study in 2018 determining that texting while driving doubles the chances of a motor vehicle accident.
It takes an average of five seconds to read or send a text message. In that time, drivers can travel approximately 360 feet or the length of a football field with their eyes off the road. By texting or otherwise using a device to surf the web, play a game, or check-in on social media, drivers increase the chances of an accident. Texting while driving also increases the risk by threefold that of a vehicle will:
- Go over a curb
- Crash into a tree
- Collide with a sign
- Leave the road
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
Cell phones and texting aren’t the only things that stand to distract drivers from their critical duty. Talking to passengers, assisting a pet, reaching for kids in the backseat, eating, drinking, or even personal grooming are some of the other significant distractions drivers in our state face.
Everyone is in a hurry at one time or another. However, there’s never an excuse for speeding. Speeding not only increases the chances of an accident but can also make the resulting damages and injuries much worse. In 2019, 26 percent (or 8,544) of all deadly traffic accidents involved speeding, killing approximately 9,478 individuals, or an average of over 25 people each day.
Driving While Under the Influence
Alcohol can cause lapses in judgment, difficulty ascertaining distance and speed, impaired coordination, and increased impulsivity. However, drivers can also be under the influence of illicit, prescription, or even over-the-counter drugs, which impair them while driving. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers released data showing that 43 percent of all of the state’s motor vehicle accidents involve drunk drivers. Connecticut ranks second, as 51 percent of fatal accidents in the District of Columbia involved alcohol. A dedicated Bridgeport car crash lawyer like Bert McDowell is prepared to investigate the circumstances of a collision to determine if the other driver was under the influence of any illegal substance and hold them accountable in court.
Sometimes accidents aren’t caused by other drivers. Instead, they are the result of a manufacturing defect with a vehicle or its parts. In these cases, it’s typically the manufacturer who should be held accountable for their negligence. An experienced Bridgeport motor vehicle accident lawyer can help hold manufacturers accountable for what transpired.
Defects with Roads, Lights, or Signs
Still, other accidents can be related to malfunctioning traffic lights, poor road maintenance, or even areas that lack proper signage. The local municipality is usually in charge of all of these issues. If they fail to act prudently, they are liable for the injuries that result.
While drivers certainly aren’t responsible for weather conditions, they are responsible for adjusting their driving in accordance with the current conditions. Connecticut sees plenty of snow and sometimes rain, hail, and sleet. These conditions make the road slick and icy, requiring drivers to reduce their speeds and drive cautiously.
Types of Motor Vehicle Crashes
At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we’ve helped injured parties obtain compensation after many different types of car accidents. We have the knowledge and skill to investigate your accident thoroughly.
Rear-end collisions occur when the front of one car hits another car’s backside. There are variances in the severity, damage, and injury potential dependent on several factors, such as distance and speed. In 2019, there were 2,346 fatal rear-end crashes, accounting for 7.1 percent of all deadly crashes.
When one vehicle hits the side of another, it’s called a side-impact crash. Often called “T-bone,” side impacts can happen if a driver runs a stoplight, hitting the side of another vehicle that is turning or passing through the intersection. These impacts can cause severe injuries.
Head-on accidents happen when two vehicles’ front parts collide or one vehicle crashes into a stationary object headfirst. These collisions usually cause injuries, some of them severe or catastrophic. They can arise from various situations, including when a vehicle swerves into oncoming traffic.
A rollover is when a car ends up on its side or roof. These types of accidents are typically caused by multiple vehicle collisions or attempting tight turns at high speeds. Any vehicle can be involved in a rollover crash; however, taller vehicles and SUVs run a higher risk of rollovers due to their higher center of gravity.
A hit-and-run accident occurs when one driver doesn’t stop after an accident or stops momentarily and flees the scene. Hit-and-run accidents could be any type of accident. Under Connecticut General Statutes § 14-224, all drivers involved in an accident must stop at the scene. Those who don’t can face serious legal consequences.
Single-vehicle accidents happen for many reasons— runoffs, road departures, and crashing into stationary objects such as trees or light poles are a few examples.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from minor scrapes, cuts, and bruises to severe spinal cord damage, head injuries, and even fatal injuries. The most common ones include:
Head and Facial Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Severe Lacerations
- Foreign Bodies In The Eye
- Broken Facial Bones
Neck and Back Injuries
- Broken Vertebrae
- Slipped Discs
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
Arm and Leg Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Severe Lacerations
- Severe Bleeding
- Organ Damage
- Broken Pelvis
- Broken Ribs
- Severe TBI
- An Amputation
- Slipped Discs
- An SCI Resulting In Paralysis
Fires are not uncommon in car accidents, putting victims at risk of severe burns anywhere on their bodies.
What Is Your Case Worth?
When you meet with us, we will evaluate your case and provide you with an estimate of the value of your claim. There are many factors the impact how much your case is worth:
Insurance Policy Limits
- The liability policy limit of the liable driver who hit you
- The liability policy limit of the vehicle’s owner (if different from the driver of the vehicle)
- If you have uninsured and underinsured motorists covered on your insurance policy, and if so, what those coverage limits are
The Severity of Your Vehicle Damage
If your car had little to no damage, substantial damage, or if you only had vehicle damages and no injuries.
If your injuries are completely resolved with minor treatment, or you still have pain and ongoing medical treatment. Did you have a neck, back, or spinal cord injury or a minor sprain or strain that has healed? Did you sustain a brain injury, lose consciousness, or suffer from post-traumatic amnesia? Did you suffer fractures or an injury that needed surgery?
If you missed time from work due to your injuries or attending medical appointments, you deserve compensation for that time. If your injuries left you disabled and unable to work, you should also receive compensation for future lost wages.
Commercial Truck Accidents
The minimum bodily injury liability policy limit is significantly higher for commercial trucks than for other personal automobiles. Federal law requires 18-wheeler trucks to have a minimum of $750,000 in bodily injury liability insurance.
Connecticut Filing Deadline
Contacting a Bridgeport car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident is in your best interest. Connecticut gives personal injury victims two years from the date of their injury to file a legal case. If they don’t file within this deadline, they lose their legal right to pursue compensation. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can file your case, collect evidence on your behalf, and talk to the insurance companies for you. Waiting to get legal help can jeopardize your case in many ways.
Settlements vs. Court Awards
Car accident cases typically end in a negotiated settlement or a court award. The vast majority of personal injury claims end in a settlement. Your Bridgeport car accident attorney will first attempt to negotiate a full and fair settlement with the parties liable for your injuries. This may take several months and lots of back and forth between your attorney and the liable party’s attorney. Accepting the settlement is up to you.
If you don’t feel the other party is offering you a fair settlement, we aren’t afraid to take your case to trial. At trial, we will present your case to a jury or judge. They will determine who is liable for your accident and order them to pay an appropriate amount of damages.
However, settlements are typically beneficial for both parties because they usually:
- Resolve the case faster
- Give both parties more control over the outcome, resulting in less risk
- Cost less than going to trial
Determining Liability in a Car Wreck
One of the most crucial tasks of any Bridgeport car accident attorney is to identify who is liable for your accident. To receive compensation, you must seek it from the responsible party. You may have a valid case if we can establish the following:
The other party owed you a duty of care, meaning they should act in such a way that a reasonably prudent individual would act under the same circumstances. For example, a prudent individual would stop at a stop sign or put their phone away while driving.
Breach of Duty
The other party failed to uphold their duty of care to you. They may have driven too fast on icy roads or failed to yield the right of way to you when the law says they should have.
Your injuries are the direct result of the other party’s actions or inactions. For instance, if an impaired driver hits you, they are liable for your injuries. However, suppose a drunk driver drives up on a curb, frightening a dog. The dog runs into traffic, causing one driver to swerve into your lane and hit your car. In this case, the driver wouldn’t likely be liable for your resulting injuries (although depending on the circumstances, the swerving driver might be).
You have compensable damages arising from your injuries. Your damages might include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.
Sometimes more than one party can be liable for your accident. If a Bridgeport car wreck attorney determines there are multiple parties responsible, they will pursue compensation from all of them in order to maximize your recovery.
Consult with a Seasoned Bridgeport Car Accident Lawyer Today
Being injured in a car accident comes as a complete shock. Not only are you trying to recover from your physical injuries, but you are likely also worried about things like your medical expenses, when you will be able to return to work, who will clean your house while you can’t, or how your vehicle will get repaired. We come along beside you and deal with the legal aspects of your claim, allowing you to rest and relax while healing from your injury. A Bridgeport car accident attorney at our firm will work tirelessly to get the outcome you deserve for your damages.
Call Bert McDowell Injury Law today to schedule your free car accident case consultation. We are available to take your call anytime, or you may reach us online.