A no-fault state is a state that requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This kind of policy covers medical expenses and other economic damages incurred by the driver and any uninsured passengers, regardless of fault in an accident.
Generally speaking, this means that no-fault states prohibit victims from pursuing compensation from other parties without first reaching the limits of PIP. On paper, this means a faster and more accessible claims process at the cost of limited opportunity to hold liable parties accountable.
On the other hand, Connecticut is an at-fault state, also called a tort state. In contrast to a no-fault state, Connecticut holds drivers found to be responsible for a car accident liable for paying the costs of damages sustained by victims.
In at-fault states, drivers are not required to carry PIP, though insurance providers still provide the option for those interested. Parties involved in an accident generally pursue compensation from each other’s policies or sue each other for damages.
Connecticut specifically follows a form of tort rule called modified comparative negligence.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Modified Comparative negligence is a principle that allows plaintiffs to pursue damages even if they share a degree of responsibility for the accident. However, the damages a party can claim are reduced by their degree of fault and only if that degree of fault falls below a threshold or bar.
This tort ruling contrasts contributory negligence, where even 1% shared responsibility prohibits a plaintiff from making a claim. It is also different from pure comparative negligence, where plaintiffs can pursue compensation even if they shoulder a majority of fault.
Modified comparative negligence can be classified into the 50% bar and 51% bar rules. Essentially, these numbers specify the degree of fault at which a plaintiff is prohibited from recovering any damages from other parties.
Connecticut follows a 51% bar rule. Therefore, plaintiffs may make their claim against other parties even if they are equally (50%) liable for an accident, but no more than that.
What Are the Minimum Insurance Requirements in Connecticut?
$25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person per accident.
$50,000 in total bodily injury coverage when two or more people are injured.
$25,000 in property damage coverage.
In addition to liability insurance, Connecticut also has mandatory uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
$25,000 in bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 in total bodily injury per accident.
What Does Insurance Cover in Connecticut?
Liability insurance coverage pays for the damages sustained by other parties in the accident as long as they are below the 51% bar. Bodily injury (BI) generally pays for injury-related expenses, while property damage (PD) pays for the damage to vehicles and material property.
On the other hand, UM/UIM insurance allows you to make an insurance claim if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not carry sufficient insurance to cover your damages. Connecticut’s mandatory UM/UIM policy covers bodily injury for you and others in the vehicle.
UM/UIM policies in the state may include what is known as “conversion” coverage. This means that the amount you get from an at-fault driver’s liability insurance is not deducted from your UM/UIM payout (as is the case in most states).
Assume you get $25,000 from an at-fault driver when you have $100,000 in medical bills. Also, assume you have $50,000 in UIM.
Most states would deduct the at-fault driver’s $25,000 from your UIM policy. In Connecticut, however, you will get a full $75,000 by combining the driver’s BI liability insurance with your UIM coverage.
How Insurance Works According to a Connecticut Car Accident Law Firm
Let’s say that Driver A and Driver B are traveling on I-95 at night and are maintaining a safe following distance when some hard-to-see debris forces Driver A to slam the brakes. Driver A makes an emergency stop.
Driver B is slower to react than Driver A. While he also hits the brakes, he doesn’t stop in time, rear-ending Driver A.
In this scenario, we might find Driver A to be 30% at fault for the sudden stop. It’s true his quick reaction helped avoid a more serious accident, but the suddenness of the stop contributed to the collision nonetheless.
On the other hand, Driver B might be found 70% at fault for not stopping in time. Even though they were maintaining a safe following distance, they might be found to have been driving tired, slowing their reaction time, and leading to a rear-end collision with Driver A.
Put yourself in Driver A’s shoes. Let’s assume that, for the sake of this example, the insurance policy provider conducted their investigation and found you had around $10,000 in damages.
You could still claim against Driver B in such a position. However, under modified comparative negligence, your 30% fault will mean you can only claim $7,000 from your damages.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Helps Your Insurance Claim
A good personal injury lawyer is backed by years of experience in case law. This means that when they are faced with a difficult or complex case, they have access to a wealth of information from which they can draw parallels to help them draw a conclusion.
Working with a personal injury lawyer gives you access to these same resources to assign fault to all parties involved accurately and fairly.
If we go back to our rear-ender example, your lawyer may be able to assign a smaller degree of fault to you. They may be able to assert this during negotiations with the insurance provider, netting you a greater amount than you initially thought you would get.
Your lawyer may point out that I-95 should have been clear of debris in the first place and assign a degree of fault to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. This would reduce fault on your part, Driver A, as well as on Driver B’s part.
Suddenly, Driver B is only 50% at fault, you are only 20% at fault, and the state is 30% at fault. As a result, your lawyer manages to secure another $1,000 for your claim.
Work With Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer Bert McDowell for Your Fair Insurance Claim
When you need to secure your insurance claim in Connecticut, look no further than Bert McDowell Injury Law. Our Connecticut car accident law firm serving Bridgeport, Hartford, Stratford, and throughout the state has recovered millions of dollars for our clients and looks to serve you with the same degree of care and dedication that has brought us success.
At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we fight for your rights while sticking to our Three Pillars: client communication, attention, and success. So Bring On Bert and contact us today at (203) 590-9169 for a free case evaluation.
We serve our clientele in English and Spanish, and we do not charge you a dime until we have won your case for you.