Connecticut Personal Injury Laws – An Overview
The personal injury attorneys at Jackson O’Keefe, represent men and women throughout Connecticut who have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. Contact the firm for a confidential consultation to discuss your personal injury claim.
Personal injury lawsuits in Connecticut are filed by people (or their representatives) who were injured due to the negligence of someone else. The injury may be either physical or emotional, and it can arise from a variety of sources or types of conduct. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include slip and fall, automobile accidents, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, and product liability. In general, the goal of a personal injury action is to determine who was responsible, and to compel the responsible party to compensate the injured person for the losses sustained. If you or someone you know has been injured by the careless actions of another, contact a personal injury attorney at Jackson O’Keefe, at once to find out how we can help you preserve your rights.
Personal Injury Damages
The personal injury lawyers at Jackson O’Keefe can help ensure that our clients receive the damages to which they are entitled by law. Some of the items for which injured parties are legally entitled to compensation include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, damages for both physical and emotional pain and suffering, and damages for disfigurement. Sometimes, a close family member of the injured person, such as his or her spouse, may also be entitled to damages. This award is often referred to as loss of consortium damages, which is intended to compensate the loved one for the loss of the injured or deceased person’s services and companionship.
Other kinds of damages that may be awarded, depending on the laws of the state where the lawsuit is brought and the facts of the particular case, include hedonic damages, which are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of activities that he or she once valued but can no longer participate in as a result of the injuries suffered. In addition, punitive damages may be awarded when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious and the court or jury determines that the defendant should be punished by paying an amount above and beyond the plaintiff’s actual damages. Punitive damage awards may also serve to deter others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
“Legal Causation” of Personal Injuries
Not every injured plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for the injury he or she sustains. Besides the injury, the plaintiff must also establish, through credible and relevant evidence, that the defendant is legally responsible for his or her injuries. The plaintiff must present proof of causation both in terms of actual causation and proximate (legal) causation. Actual causation is determined by literal cause and effect. If legal causation is established depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular matter in question.
In some personal injury actions, legal causation may be established if the plaintiff can show that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. This means that the wrongdoer intentionally or purposefully harmed the plaintiff or knew that the conduct in which he or she engaged gave rise to a substantial likelihood that harm would result.
Negligence and Strict Liability
Other personal injury actions are based on a looser concept of fault called negligence. Under the negligence theory, a defendant is held liable for the results of action, or inaction, when an ordinary person in the same position should have foreseen that the conduct would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. Still other types of personal injury actions are based on strict liability, which is a no-fault system under which liability may be established regardless of the fault of the various parties, including the plaintiff. Strict liability may be applied in products liability cases, such as when a manufacturer or seller of a defective product puts that product into the hands of consumers and users of the product are injured.
The defendant can be held liable for actions taken or for actions not taken. A driver who fails to stop at a red light and hits another vehicle and injures the other driver or passengers is liable based on her negligent acts. A property owner who fails to clear the ice and snow from the front steps of a business open to the public may be liable for his inaction if a patron falls and breaks her leg when attempting to enter the premises.
Defenses to Liability in Personal Injury Cases
In some situations, the defendant’s conduct, while questionable, may not give rise to damages. If, for instance, a plaintiff knowingly and willfully chooses to encounter a known hazard, then the law provides that he or she has assumed the risk of injury and therefore, the defendant should not be liable. The assumption of the risk theory may apply also in a case in which the plaintiff engaged in a friendly game of tackle football and another player broke his arm; in such a case, the plaintiff may be unable to recover for his injuries because he knew of the risks inherent in the game and willingly chose to encounter them.
The following are possible defenses to personal injury claims.
- Statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations are laws setting forth the period within which the lawsuit must be initiated
- Sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity provides that certain government officials are immune from civil liability for their official conduct
- Intentional misuse. Injuries caused by a plaintiff’s intentional misuse of a product may be a defense to liability in a products liability case
- Contributory or comparative negligence. Contributory or comparative negligence exists where the plaintiff’s own conduct caused or contributed to his or her injuries
A personal injury lawyer can explain these and other defenses and determine if they apply to a particular case.
Personal injury actions often require a lawyer’s careful examination of the surrounding facts and circumstances to determine if the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. A personal injury attorney at Jackson O’Keefe in Hartford, Connecticut, can look at the facts of your case and determine whether you have a legally valid claim, how soon you must act to preserve your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled, and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before your lawsuit is even resolved. Additionally, in many personal injury cases, you owe no legal fees unless and until the defendant pays the damage award.
All of the attorneys at Jackson O’Keefe take pride in “fighting for the little guy.” We take cases we believe in for people we care about. Each case that we select is handled with extreme care and given the amount of time it needs and deserves. We’re genuinely interested in the welfare of our clients. We always try to do more than merely obtain a successful result in a particular case. We’re certainly proud of the results we get, and the speed with which we get them. However, we’re just as proud of the fact that we return all phone calls immediately and solve every problem we can, whether it is directly related to the case or not. We’ve maintained friendships with many of our clients long after we’ve won or settled their cases. Our relationships with them are just as rewarding as our professional accomplishments on their behalf.
Our Injury Practice Areas include Auto & Car Accident Cases, Connecticut Car Accident Cases, Connecticut Motorcycle Accident Cases, Connecticut Truck Accident Cases, Defective Products (including seat belts, air bags, child car seats, and tires), Insurance Cases (including low-ball offers), SUV Rollover Cases, Wrongful Death Cases, Other Accidents, Connecticut Bicycle Accident Cases, Connecticut Pedestrian Accident Cases, Connecticut Boating Accident Cases, Connecticut Plane Crashes, Connecticut Bus Accident Cases, Connecticut Train Accidents, Connecticut Construction Accidents, and Connecticut Texting and Distracted Driving Accidents cases, Serious Injury Cases, Catastrophic Injuries (including Amputation Cases, Paralysis & Quadriplegia, and Cases Involving Brain Damage), Severe Back Injuries, Blindness Cases, Birth Injury Cases, Broken Bones, Burns, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and CRPS, as well as drug class action litigation such as with regard to Mirena IUDs.
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