If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of another individual or entity in Connecticut, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, recovering any owed compensation can be challenging and is typically done through either insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Here, we want to briefly review the personal injury claims process.
Generally, the first step when filing a personal injury claim is going through the insurance carriers involved in the process. Depending on the type of situation at hand, the types of insurance carriers may differ. Sometimes, there may not be an insurance carrier to turn to at all.
For example, if the incident relates to a vehicle accident, then the claim will likely be filed with the auto insurance carriers. However, injuries that occur at a private residence will likely be filed with a homeowners’ or renter’s insurance carrier.
Most personal injury claims are settled through negotiations with insurance carriers. However, that does not necessarily guarantee a smooth ride after the claim gets filed. Insurance carriers will always look out for their bottom line, and they have no desire to pay major settlement amounts. It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to push back on the total amount claimed, and they could even deny the claim altogether.
There will be significant negotiations with an insurance carrier, particularly if the fault for the incident is not absolutely clear. If there is any dispute over liability or over the types or amount of compensation demanded, the insurance carrier will likely push back. It is common for insurance carriers to offer a very low settlement to begin with, but this should be the starting point of negotiations.
In the event a settlement cannot be negotiated between the injury victim and their legal team and the alleged negligent party and their legal team, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
When a lawsuit gets filed in civil court, it must be done within two years from the date the incident occurred. Failure to file within this time frame will likely mean the individual is unable to recover any compensation at all.
After the lawsuit gets filed, the “discovery process” will begin. This is when attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defendant will exchange evidence with one another, and it may be necessary to take depositions of any potential witnesses that could be called a trial. There will likely be continued negotiations, often in the form of mediation, after the discovery process begins. If a settlement cannot be reached during a mediation, then the case will proceed forward with a trial.
It can take quite some time for a case to reach trial, depending on how busy the civil court system is. It is not uncommon for it to take multiple years for a case to finally reach a jury.
When a case finally does get in front of a personal injury jury, attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendant will have a chance to lay out their evidence and question witnesses. When the case concludes, the jury will determine whether or not the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and they will decide on the total compensation amount.