A car accident broken bone lawyer looking up laws related to a client's case.Broken bones are not only painful, but they can affect your daily life for weeks or even months following a car accident. Depending on the kind of job you do, a broken bone might prevent you from working until it’s fully healed. At the same time, you may struggle with typical tasks at home, from brushing your teeth to doing the laundry.

In the best-case scenario, you’ll have a simple or closed fracture that heals in 6-8 weeks. However, people who experience car accidents often have more complex fractures, which could take longer to heal. In the most severe cases, where the bone is in two or more pieces, you may first need surgery to insert pins or rods, then several months in a cast, and finally physical therapy to regain lost function.

During this time, you will likely receive multiple medical bills for various treatments your health insurance didn’t cover or only partly covered. Your regular bills will still be due, even if you can’t work and have used up all your PTO. Additionally, you may have other painful injuries besides a broken bone (or multiple broken bones).

How Can a Bridgeport Car Accident Broken Bone Attorney Help?

After a car accident, your broken bones and other injuries can cause significant financial distress. Your first thought might be to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but in many cases, that process is also filled with challenges. Often, the other driver denies culpability for the accident, claiming you were at fault. Even if they accept responsibility, their insurance carrier might not.

That’s right, the insurance company could still blame you for the accident, at least in part. Connecticut law provides for situations of shared fault, so each party is assigned a percentage of fault for an accident. Your percentage of fault could be 0, but it could also be 5, 10, or 20 percent.

What does this mean for your case? You can still collect damages from the at-fault driver if your percentage of responsibility is below 51 percent, but your share of fault will be subtracted from your final settlement. If you were 10 percent to blame, the insurance company could pay you 10 percent less. If they can make a case that you were more than 51 percent responsible, they might even avoid paying you anything. You can probably understand why the insurance adjuster might be eager to claim you had even a small amount of culpability in the accident.

Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you stand up to the insurance company. We’ll investigate your accident, assemble evidence to show the other driver was all or primarily at fault, and develop a strategy to prove your case. We understand how insurance companies work and have the knowledge to overcome their tactics.

Do You Still Need a Lawyer if the Insurance Company Offers You a Settlement?

Yes, you should still consult an attorney to review the offer before you accept. This is because many settlement offers substantially undervalue the injured person’s claim. A car accident attorney will discuss your injuries and other losses and help you estimate the total value of your claim so you can decide if the offer is reasonable or not.

Many injured people don’t know that some of their damages aren’t included in an offer from the insurance company. Unless you happen to be an expert on the insurance industry, it’s difficult to know all the potential damages from an accident or how much some of them might be worth. Here are some of the categories we’ll ask you about as we calculate how much your settlement should be:

  • Medical bills. This category isn’t as simple as it might sound. Yes, we will start with your current medical bills (it’s helpful to have these handy). But what about your future expenses? You may need physical therapy and other treatments to complete your recovery or help you with chronic pain. We’ll also ask about related expenses, such as mobility aids—canes, crutches, wheelchairs—or travel expenses to see a specialist. In most cases, we will wait until your treatment is complete to settle a claim so that all your medical expenses are included.
  • Lost income. As we discussed earlier, a broken bone can make it impossible to do some jobs that require physical activity. The more complex the fracture, the more time you will need to recover—and the more time you’ll be out of work. Most people only have a few weeks of paid time off; then, they have to begin taking unpaid time off. We can actually seek compensation for both paid and unpaid time off because you had to utilize PTO you could have used for something else.
  • Reduced earning potential. Sometimes, a broken bone heals, but never feels the same. With more severe breaks, you may have chronic pain or limited mobility even after completing physical therapy and other treatments. If your broken bone or other injuries result in a permanent disability, you may have to work fewer hours, take a less physically strenuous job that doesn’t pay as well, or even stop working entirely. When this happens, we will fight to get compensation for your lost earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering. In the last section, we talked about the pain and discomfort you may experience due to broken bones. Even if your pain doesn’t become chronic, you could experience weeks of suffering, and you deserve compensation. Mental or emotional distress related to the trauma of the accident should also be included.
  • Property damage. Aside from your injuries, you may also have expensive estimates for car repairs. We’ll work to ensure you receive the total value of repair or replacement costs for your vehicle, including depreciation if the accident lowered your car’s resale value.

After we reach an estimate for your claim, we’ll review the insurance company’s offer. They may ignore some of the above categories completely while undervaluing others. The insurance adjuster could refuse to pay for some of your treatments, claim some of your injuries were actually related to a preexisting injury or condition, or ignore the possibility of future medical bills. Additionally, they may not even address your pain and suffering or lost income, especially if you didn’t know to mention these in your initial claim.

If the insurance company has made a sensible offer, you can go ahead and accept it right away. But if you realize the offer doesn’t meet all your needs, we can negotiate with the insurance company for a more comprehensive deal. We’ll review all subsequent offers with you, and when you receive one that you want to accept, we’ll assist you with the final steps, ensuring all medical invoices are paid so you don’t have any surprises.

What if the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured?

Fortunately, Connecticut requires uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UI), so as long as you have car insurance, we can seek coverage from your own policy. However, if you only have the state minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury UM/UI coverage, and your medical bills exceed that amount, you may have additional expenses.

In this situation, we will consider whether a lawsuit against the at-fault driver would be beneficial. It’s always possible to hold the driver personally responsible by filing a lawsuit, but if they have no assets we can seize, it might not be worthwhile. We won’t advise you to go to the time and stress of a lawsuit if we don’t believe there’s a way to collect your damages at the end of it.

In a few cases, you may be able to make a third-party claim against another liable party, such as the manufacturer of a defective airbag or another car component. But for most people in this situation, UM/UI coverage is the best option for recovering your damages. If you can afford to buy more than the state minimum in UM/UI insurance, we recommend doing so.

UM/UI insurance can also be used if you are hit by an uninsured driver while walking or riding a bicycle and in situations where your broken bone is caused by a hit-and-run driver who is never found.

How Can You Get Help From a Bridgeport Car Accident Broken Bone Law Firm?

Please contact Bert McDowell Injury Law for a free consultation about your car accident. We’ll go over your claim, investigate further if necessary, and explain your options for pursuing compensation. There is no obligation, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it. You have nothing to lose, so please call today to learn more.

Bridgeport Personal Injury Attorney Bert McDowell, Jr. is dedicated to helping injured people and their families and has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for his clients. He was featured in 40 Under 40 Connecticut Magazine and chosen for the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40. Additionally, he’s been a Super Lawyers Rising Star for four consecutive years. His interest in community service has also earned him the 100 Men of Color Award and the Man of Excellence Award from the organization Black People Rocks.