Activities that happen every day often carry a serious risk of injury: driving a car, undergoing an operation, doing construction work, operating heavy machinery, and so on. When people are harmed by the careless conduct of another person or entity, they may have a right to recover compensation. If you have been hurt as a result of another person's wrongdoing or negligence, contact Connecticut personal injury attorney Walter A. Shalvoy, Jr. for a free consultation to find out if you should try to seek damages. He has over a decade of experience representing Connecticut clients in a variety of lawsuits, including serious personal injury cases.
There are certain safety rules that govern many types of activities, such as traffic laws for drivers or regulations for medical professionals. Beyond these written rules, people generally are expected to act in a way that avoids any unnecessary risk of foreseeable harm to others. Unfortunately, however, there are times when people overlook or ignore this obligation. This means that they fail to perform a given activity with the amount of skill or care needed to carry out the activity safely.
A person injured by that lack of care can file a negligence lawsuit against whoever was responsible for the accident. In a negligence case, there are four basic elements. First, the defendant must have owed a duty to the victim, which can be a specific duty required by law or simply the duty of reasonable care. The defendant also must have breached that duty, and the victim must have suffered an injury as a result of the breach. Finally, the injuries must have forced the victim to incur actual damages.
Common personal injury claims involve:
A duty of care exists in each of these situations. For example, drivers have a duty to obey all traffic laws and rules of the road. Doctors and surgeons have a duty to inform patients of known risks, and to perform in their professions at the level expected of an ordinary doctor. Product manufacturers have a duty to build products that are safe to use for their intended purposes, while landowners have a duty to keep their property free of dangerous hazards.
When any of these duties are breached, and the breach causes an injury, the victim has a right to sue the defendant for any damages caused. Depending upon the circumstances, these may include:
When a defendant has acted with extreme recklessness that approaches intentional wrongdoing, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to the forms of compensatory damages above.
Under Connecticut's comparative fault statute, the victim must prove that the defendant bears more than 50% of the responsibility for the accident that caused the injury. For example, a pedestrian who was texting while crossing the street may have been hit by a distracted and speeding driver. Although the driver acted carelessly and is partly at fault, the pedestrian can't get compensation if a jury finds that his or her texting was at least 50% responsible for the injuries. If, however, the jury finds the pedestrian is only 40% responsible, the pedestrian can receive a damage award that is reduced by 40%.
You should not bear the financial burden of an accident alone as you try to recover physically and emotionally. If you or someone close to you has been harmed by someone else's carelessness or intentional wrongdoing, contact Connecticut injury lawyer Walter A. Shalvoy, Jr. at 203-426-4409, or use the online contact form to set up a free consultation. He can advise you on what your rights and remedies may be and, if appropriate, represent you in pursuing a personal injury claim.