This is the next post in a series of articles discussing bicycle accident cases in Hartford, Connecticut. Our previous post highlighted the topics which we will address throughout this series. In this article, we will address how Connecticut’s comparative fault rules may impact bicycle accident lawsuits. Personal injury litigation can be complicated and can take a significant period of time to resolve. In light of the serious injuries often suffered by victims, bike crash cases can be emotionally and financially devastating to victims and their families. It is imperative to retain counsel with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the legal process on your behalf. Our lawyers understand what may be at stake for our clients and have experience handling such cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
It is a common misconception that a cyclist injured in a crash cannot recover damages from the other party if the cyclist was partially responsible for the incident. This is not the case. Under Connecticut’s comparative fault laws, so long as the injured party was not more than fifty percent at fault, they may be entitled to recover a portion of their damages from the other responsible driver. We have written previously about this concept in the context of truck accidents. The same guidelines are applicable to bicycle accident cases. Each party’s level of responsibility will be determined by the parties’ counsel during settlement discussions or, if the case cannot be settled, by a jury during a trial. If the plaintiff’s relative fault is fifty percent or less, their overall damages will be proportionately reduced by their percentage of responsibility.
This concept is best explained by example. A bike rider fails to use an appropriate turning signal and is struck by an oncoming car. Failure to signal properly is determined to be a contributing factor to the accident. After conducting a thorough investigation, information is obtained by the victim’s attorney including text message records, traffic camera footage, and GPS data, which indicates that the driver was speeding and texting at the time of the crash. The accident may have been avoided but for the defendant’s distracted driving and speeding. If it is determined that the driver was more than fifty percent responsible, the victim may still recover at least some of their damages from the defendant. If, for instance, the cyclist is determined to be forty percent responsible and the driver is sixty percent at fault, the cyclist will recover sixty percent of his damages. If the total damages are $250,000, the award will be reduced by forty percent and the victim will recover $150,000 ($250,000-40%).
It is important to understand that this concept can become a hotly contested issue, particularly in serious injury or wrongful death cases that may involve significant damages. Defense attorneys often attempt to shift as much of the responsibility to the victim as they can to reduce their client’s financial exposure. For these reasons, it is essential to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to protect the rights of victims and their families. Our Hartford lawyers are experienced in bicycle accident cases and are ready to assist you. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, West and East Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.