Who Pays For Car Crash Compensation In Connecticut?
An experienced car accident lawyer can move your case forward
Car crashes happen fast, but the consequences can be deep and far-reaching. Between lost wages, medical bills, damage to your property and other costs, you could end up on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars. And if the crash wasn’t your fault, you need and deserve full compensation for those damages.
Attorney Jeremy Vishno of the Vishno Law Firm has dedicated his career to getting results for people hurt in auto crashes. If you’ve been injured, you may be looking at a complex process, and this brief guide can help.
Connecticut is a “fault” state for car crashes
Connecticut is a “fault” based state. The driver who causes the crash is responsible for injuries and damages, including pain and suffering, out of pocket medical expenses, lost wages and other related damages. There are several options available after most crashes to recover compensation:
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which should be done right away
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court, if the insurance claim does not settle, or will not settle within the Two-Year Statute of Limitations (the claim will expire if not settled, or a lawsuit filed within 2 years of the crash)
Getting your medical bills paid
Connecticut Law Requires the following priority for getting your medical bills paid:
Medpay/Medical Payments Coverage: If your car insurance policy has this coverage, you must make a claim for benefits or you cannot include those covered bills in your claim. This may seem ridiculous; why shouldn’t the other driver’s insurance pay? But the rules require you to use your own coverage, and you don’t want the other carrier in charge of what bills to pay. If you have Medpay/Medical Payments Coverage, and it is used up, you then must process your bills through your personal health insurance, if you have it. Again, if you fail to take this step, you will not be able to get those bills included in your claim.
If you do not have Medpay/Medical Payments Coverage, and you have health insurance, then you must process your bills through that personal health insurance, or, again, you will not be able to recover those bills in the claim.
If you don’t have Medpay/Medical Payments Coverage or health insurance, you must either pay out of pocket, or make an arrangement with the doctor’s office to pay them at the end of your claim/case. This option is only available if you have a lawyer who can arrange this for you with a reputable and competent doctor. If this option is the one used, the amount of those bills to be paid at the end become part of your damage claim, as if they are out of pocket expenses.
Ultimately, because Connecticut is a “fault” insurance state, the at-fault driver, usually through their insurance, is responsible for paying your medical bills at the end of the claim. But normally, this payment will not happen until after you have completed your treatment. Vishno Law Firm can help you understand your options and get the treatment you need immediately after the crash.
Insurance claims and lawsuits
In Connecticut, the at-fault driver must be held accountable for compensating you for your injuries and other damages.
Insurance Claim v. Lawsuit
The first step in the process is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company Before a lawsuit is filed, it is typical to first file the claim with the other insurance carrier. A lawyer is best equipped to manage this process, to avoid being taken advantage of. The lawyer will be able to determine if the claim is likely to settle (with a lump sum payment), or if a lawsuit is required.
If the claim cannot be settled, or it appears the claim will take longer than two years (the statute of limitations) to be ready to negotiate, a lawsuit will be required. There are exceptions to the general 2-year rule, including claims against the State of Connecticut, or a city/municipality or government entity.
Consult your lawyer to be sure your claim does not disappear due to a time limit. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you have no claim or case. You can’t file a lawsuit, and without the threat of a lawsuit, no insurance company will pay your claim. That’s why it’s so important to take immediate action to get the compensation you need.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims
Uninsured Motorist Claims: If you are injured by a driver with no insurance, or by a “Hit & Run” vehicle, you have an “Uninsured Motorist Claim.” This claim is made directly against your own insurance, or if you are a relative and live with someone who has this coverage. Vishno Law Firm has handled hundreds of these claims, and can guide you through this very technical process as if it were a simple case against another driver.
Underinsured Motorist Claims: Even if the driver who causes your crash has insurance, it may not be enough to fully compensate you for your injuries. In Connecticut, motorists are required to carry a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per crash for injury claims; that is, $20,000 for bodily injury to a single person and $40,000 total for bodily injury to multiple people in a single crash.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage steps if the other driver’s insurance is not enough to cover your losses. If your case ends up with a value of $100,000, but the other driver only has the minimum $20,000, you look at your own policy Underinsured Coverage to see if there is more than the $20,000. If there is, you can claim up to that limit, with a credit for the other driver’s insurance, once it has been paid to you.
In rare instances, a Connecticut auto policy will include Underinsured Motorist “conversion coverage”. Without conversion coverage, your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage only covers up to the difference between the underinsured motorist’s liability coverage and your UIM coverage. For instance, if you have a UIM policy limit of $50,000 and the other motorist had $20,000 in liability coverage, the maximum you could receive is $50,000 in total - $20,000 from the other driver and $30,000 from your own policy. With conversion coverage, you could receive up to $70,000 in compensation - $20,000 from the underinsured driver and the full $50,000 from your UIM coverage.
Contact an experienced lawyer to move through the claims process
Your path to full and fair compensation often involves a contested claims process with another driver’s insurance company. They have all the time and resources, unless you have a lawyer to step in for you. That’s why you need to contact us right away. With an experienced car crash attorney who knows Connecticut’s laws on your side, you are much more likely to get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Call today and schedule your free consultation.