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Can I recover damages from a negligent driver if I was negligent?

If suffer a personal injury in a car accident in New Haven County, you would normally have the right to seek damages from a negligent driver who was responsible for causing the accident. However, things get a bit more complicated when your negligence might also have contributed to the accident or to your injuries. Fortunately, Connecticut laws do not bar you from recovering, but they may limit the amount that you will receive in a lawsuit or in a settlement.

At one time, a plaintiff in a lawsuit to recover damages as a result of a car crash would have been prohibited from doing so if the defendant could prove that the negligence of the plaintiff contributed to causing either the accident or the injuries. For instance, a passenger in a vehicle who suffered catastrophic injuries in an auto accident would not be able to recover for pain and suffering if the negligent driver could prove the injured party was injured because he or she was not wearing a seat belt.

Laws have changed dramatically since contributory negligence would have barred an injured accident victim from receiving compensation. State law in Connecticut allows an injured plaintiff to recover damages as long as the plaintiff was less negligent than the defendant being sued. Contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff no longer prevents a person from recovering for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and damage to personal property suffered in a car crash.

The law takes a plaintiff’s negligence into account by reducing the amount that person may recover by the percentage to which he or she was negligent. Negligence is a complex area of the law that is beyond the scope of this post’s ability to cover completely. The information in this post is not offered as legal advice, and it should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about negligence and car accidents should only be obtained from a personal injury attorney.

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