Bridgeport Car Accident Liability Lawyer

Two drivers arguing after a collision between their red and white vehicles.Liability is often a point of disagreement in car accident cases, with both parties claiming the other caused the accident. In many cases, both drivers contributed to the crash, but the party who is primarily responsible is considered liable.

Under Connecticut law, if you are less than 51 percent at fault for an accident, you can recover damages from the other party. Whatever percentage of fault is assigned to you will be subtracted from your final settlement.

Unfortunately, this becomes more complicated when insurance companies get involved. In most accidents, both drivers have at least $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage liability insurance.

These are the minimum amounts required by the state, but some drivers have more extensive coverage.

But neither insurance company really wants to pay for your accident. Your car insurance company will argue your case to the extent that it prevents them from paying the other party’s claim.

However, they might agree that you have some fault as long as it’s below the threshold of 51 percent. It won’t cost them anything, but it might reduce your settlement.

For this reason, relying on your insurance company to work things out with the other driver’s insurance company can sometimes put you at a disadvantage.

Can a Bridgeport Car Accident Liability Attorney Help With Your Case?

Yes. Your car accident attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your accident.

First, we’ll calculate your damages and determine what your claim is worth. Then, we’ll investigate the accident and learn more about who was at fault.

In some cases, we find evidence that the other driver was entirely responsible. Other times, we may learn that the client had a small percentage of fault but not as much as the other party’s insurance company claims.

In either of these situations, we’ll build a solid case and negotiate with the insurance company to achieve a fair settlement.

What if You Are Liable for the Accident?

Please discuss your accident with an attorney before you make any decisions. You might not actually be at fault!

Sometimes, we meet new clients who assume they caused an accident because they either recall making a driving error or because the other party’s insurance company said they were at fault. We’ll review the police report, ask you questions, and investigate further, if necessary, to determine what really happened.

If we find that you were less than 51 percent responsible, we’ll work to get the settlement you need to move forward.

If you are primarily at fault, the good news is that you have liability insurance for these situations. That means the other driver can make a claim with your insurance company instead of suing you personally, and if they do sue you, your insurance company has a responsibility to pay their damages.

There are, however, limits to every policy, so you may not be fully covered in every situation. For instance, if you have only the minimum required insurance, and the other party has more than $25,000 in medical bills and other injury-related expenses, you could be held responsible for the balance.

If you can afford to buy a more considerable amount of liability coverage, this will help protect you in the event of a more severe accident.

What about your own injuries and property damage? Connecticut does not require auto insurance beyond liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but you can choose to buy other plans.

Medical Payments or MedPay coverage is an optional policy that will pay for your medical bills and related expenses in an accident, even if you were at fault. Collision coverage will pay for your own car repairs and other property damage, again, regardless of fault.

We recommend both these options, even if you are a careful driver. Anyone can have a momentary lapse in judgment and make a mistake while driving.

Additionally, there are occasionally situations where a driver may not be at fault, but there simply isn’t enough evidence to prove it.

What if the Other Driver Is Liable but Doesn’t Have Insurance?

About 6.3 percent of Connecticut drivers are uninsured. This is one of the lowest rates in the country, but if one of those 6.3 percent of drivers causes an accident, you’ll be glad uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is required in this state.

UM/UI will pay up to the policy limit for your medical costs and property damage.

What if the Other Driver Is Liable, but You Can’t Prove It?

If you’re worried about proving fault, the best thing you can do is contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Our professional investigators can often find evidence the average person cannot.

We’ll visit the accident scene, canvas the area, and look for additional witnesses who might have been missed in an earlier investigation.

Additionally, we’ll search for photo or video evidence, possibly from a nearby doorbell or security camera. These often capture accidents, but the video may be erased within a week or less, so the sooner we start work on your case, the better.

The event data recorder or EDR data from both vehicles may also be an invaluable source of information about the crash. Sometimes called “black boxes,” these devices record multiple data points, including the vehicle’s speed, its direction, and what actions the driver took right before and during the collision.

What Happens if You Are Hit by a Car While Walking or Riding Your Bicycle?

As with collisions involving two or more vehicles, we will need to establish who was at fault. Pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks, and you should always use a crosswalk if one is available.

However, in many cases, the vehicle driver claims the walker either crossed against the light, was outside the crosswalk or darted out in front of the vehicle when it was already in the intersection. Your Bridgeport personal injury lawyer will work to collect evidence and piece together what really happened in order to fight for your right to compensation.

Bicycles are considered vehicles under Connecticut law, and bicyclists are expected to follow the typical rules of the road in most situations. However, vehicle drivers often strike cyclists because they simply don’t see them.

Then, the car driver might claim the biker was at fault for various reasons, such as moving over without signaling or cutting in front of the vehicle. The reality is that most bicyclists value their safety and follow the rules, and we will search for evidence to help you prove the motorist was at fault.

If you are walking or riding a bike and a driver strikes you, please do your best to get a license plate number and/or a description of the car, then file a police report.

Unfortunately, many of these cases go unsolved, especially in situations where the victim was unable to see a license plate number, and there were no witnesses. However, we can make a claim on your UM/UI auto insurance if the hit-and-run driver is never found—it doesn’t matter that your car is not involved in the accident.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You’ve Received an Offer From the Car Insurance Company?

You should definitely ask a lawyer to review the offer before accepting or rejecting it. Even if the insurance company is not arguing the other driver’s liability, they may be undervaluing your claim.

This is a common tactic when the insurance adjuster realizes you have a robust case. Instead of trying to blame you, they make you an offer that doesn’t cover the total value of your claim and hope you accept without knowing what your claim is actually worth.

Unfortunately, this is a successful tactic in many cases, as it is difficult for a layperson to know how much their damages should be.

Your attorney will ask you about your injuries, car repairs, medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more to calculate the value of your claim accurately. Once we know that number, we can compare it to the insurance company’s offer.

If there is a large discrepancy and you want to seek a better deal, we can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Learn More From a Bridgeport Car Accident Liability Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one have questions or concerns about liability in a car accident, please contact Bert McDowell Injury Law for a free consultation. We’ll review your case, answer your questions, and explain the options for seeking compensation.

We never charge a fee until we win or settle your case, so you don’t need to worry about upfront costs.

Attorney Bert McDowell, Jr. is a highly effective litigator who represents clients in a variety of personal injury situations, including car accidents. He has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured people and their families and was featured in 40 Under 40 Connecticut Magazine.

Super Lawyers has also named him a Rising Star four years in a row. In his spare time, he is dedicated to community service and is on the board of multiple nonprofits.

Bring On Bert to get your compensation! Work with Attorney McDowell today by calling (203) 590-9169.