This is the next post in my series on the handling of Hartford, Connecticut accident cases which involve a commercial vehicle. My last article discussed establishing liability in commercial vehicle accidents. It is important to remember that the discovery process can be used to gain evidence of the defendant’s liability. The discovery process can be highly complicated as there are several rules which must be followed. It is recommended to seek counsel if you have been involved in such a wreck. In this article I will discuss how to calculate damages in such cases. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Connecticut’s modified comparative fault laws will apply to commercial accident cases
Connecticut follows the “modified comparative fault” approach when calculating damages. This means that a plaintiff may recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the accident. Compensation will be reduced by the plaintiff’s share of responsibility for the accident. However, this also means that the plaintiff may not recover damages if he or she is found to be more at fault than the defendant. The threshold for determining whether someone can recover damages is fifty-one percent. The question of who was more at fault in the accident is ultimately for the jury to decide. Therefore, the plaintiff will not recover if the jury finds that the victim was more than fifty percent responsible for the accident.
The calculation of damages is an incredibly complex topic that is best explained by way of example. Consider a situation where a man is driving and is hit by a commercial vehicle. He sues the driver of the commercial vehicle for damages because he receives a severe spinal injury as a result of the accident. The jury determines that he is entitled to $500,000 in damages for his injuries. The jury did find that the man changed lanes without signaling. However, the commercial vehicle driver was also going thirty miles per hour above the speed limit and texting while driving. If the commercial driver had not been doing these things, the accident would not have occurred. As a result, the jurors found that the man was only ten percent responsible for the accident because he failed to signal when changing lanes. The man would then be awarded only $450,000 which is ninety percent of the damages to which he was entitled. If the man had, for instance, been found to be 60% responsible for the accident, he would not be able to recover at all.
Hartford victims of commercial vehicle accidents must be able to prove that at least one of the defendants caused some portion of the harm
Most states follow the concept of joint and several liability. In other words, when an accident involves two or more parties, each party is held liable for the full amount of the plaintiff’s damages. This occurs regardless of their own percentage of fault. Connecticut abolished joint and several liability and instead follows the apportionment rule. This means that each defendant is liable to the plaintiff only for his or her proportionate share of the harm. This can be extremely tricky because it requires the plaintiff to prove that each defendant was actually responsible for at least part of the damages. If the plaintiff cannot prove that the injury was partially caused by at least one of the defendants, they will not be able to recover.
It is important to retain counsel with experience in handling commercial vehicle accidents if you think you may be entitled to damages. Trials entail many complicated rules especially relating to damages. Retaining counsel will help to ensure that your interests remain protected. Our Hartford personal injury lawyers have been serving the area for decades and have substantial experience in the handling of accidents involving commercial vehicles. Our firm takes great pride in the level of service which it provides and we look forward to working with you. This includes maintaining regular communication with you and keeping you updated throughout the duration of your case. Contact us online or by telephone today. 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.