You may have a personal injury case if you have been injured through no fault of your own. There are many factors that can affect whether or not you have a valid claim, and you will need the aid of an attorney to evaluate them. If you were injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger, or another driver was found at fault for the accident, you may have a personal injury case. Note that you may have a valid personal injury claim even if the investigating police officer found you partially or fully responsible for the accident. You also may have a personal injury case if you were injured due to a defect or dangerous condition on someone else’s property. If you are not sure if you have a case, you should consult with an attorney.
In Connecticut, you generally have two years from the date of the incident to sue for injuries arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle, dog bite or dangerous or defective property.
You have one year to sue a liquor establishment for serving an intoxicated individual who caused you harm under the Connecticut DRAM Shop statute. Note that the DRAM Act has several other requirements, including written notice, which must be completed in much less than a year, sometimes in as little as 120 days from the date of the incident.
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you think you might have a valid claim. Several types of claims require you to file notices within a certain timeframe in order to protect your right to bring a claim, such as claims against liquor establishments and municipal or state governments.
Once you have a lawyer, you can also direct any correspondence and phone calls regarding your claim to your lawyer. When you first meet your lawyer, you should bring any documentation or photos you have about the incident itself, a list of the doctors you have treated with since the incident, and information on any insurance that you carry. If you are not sure what to bring, you should call your lawyer prior to the meeting. You don't have to worry about copies of your medical records initially. Your lawyer will likely have you complete a HIPPA authorization form allowing him or her to collect a complete set of your medical records.
All you need to file a lawsuit in the State of Connecticut is a complaint outlining the facts of your claim(s) and a summons identifying the parties (Plaintiffs and Defendants) in your case. Your attorney will prepare these documents for you.
Being sued can be very traumatic, but it is not a reason to panic. However, you must respond to the lawsuit in a timely manner. Court timelines will start to run regardless of whether you do anything or not.
You will want to contact your insurance agent immediately. If you are being sued over a car accident, you will want to contact the insurer you had on the date of the accident, not your current insurer. You likely have insurance coverage even if you are currently uninsured but were insured at the time of the accident. If you have insurance coverage, your insurer will hire counsel to defend you in that lawsuit. However, you will either have to defend yourself or hire your own attorney if all your insurance carriers deny your claim for coverage.
A civil lawsuit in the State of Connecticut can last anywhere from one to three years from the day it is brought to the day a jury will decide the case, depending on the court. However, the case may settle at any time.