Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it can be a very hectic time. Not only do you have to deal with the injury itself — get medical care, pay the medical bills, and possibly miss work and figure out how to make up for lost wages — but you may also be contacted by personnel from the insurance company. They may claim to look out for your interests, but many people feel pressured by these representatives to accept a settlement really quickly. If anything, most legal experts would tell you not to talk to them until you have at least spoken about this matter with a Glastonbury personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured in an accident in Glastonbury, CT, or elsewhere in Hartford County, CT, Hassett & George is here to protect your legal interests.
What Exactly is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is literally an injury to a person. It covers physical injury, of course, and also emotional and mental injuries — as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury can occur as the result of an intentional act (either of misconduct or in contravention of a strict liability law) or through negligence.
What Is Negligence in Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits?
Negligence is an important concept in law. It has a few components that must be established for a lawsuit to succeed:
Duty of Care
First of all, the negligent party has to have what is called a duty of care — a legal responsibility to act in a way or take reasonable precautions in order to avoid causing harm to another party.
A doctor, upon whom we rely for medical care because they have the knowledge and skills non-doctors don’t have, has a duty of care to their patients. Not only must they take the appropriate steps to diagnose health issues and administer the proper treatment, but they also must take appropriate steps to ensure that they don’t make careless mistakes that could cause harm to their patients.
Departure from the Standard of Care
A plaintiff must also establish that the negligent party violated their duty of care — that the party’s conduct was a significant departure from what is reasonably expected of a person in that position. This is known as the standard of care.
A reasonable doctor would, for example, make sure they view a patient’s chart, ask questions so they can make a proper diagnosis, run tests if they need to find something out, review what medication the patient is on, follow safety and hygiene protocols, and keep abreast of new developments in medicine. If the doctor failed to run a particular test, misdiagnosed the patient, and prescribed the wrong medicine, they could be held liable if the patient is injured as a result. These kinds of cases fall under the area of medical malpractice, which is a subset of negligence law.
Note that negligence can be the result of conduct that is careless, reckless, or wrong or of failing to take an action that a reasonable person in that circumstance would have taken.
Causation of Injury
Continuing with the doctor example above, if the patient went to a different practitioner for a second opinion without having filled the first doctor’s prescription and the second doctor made the correct diagnosis and treatment plan, this patient cannot sue the first doctor for the harm that would have happened had they followed through with the bad prescription. It is only if the negligent act (or omission) caused an actual injury that compensation can be sought in the courts.
This Injury Caused Losses
If a negligent act or omission caused someone an injury that didn’t result in a discernible loss, there is also no reason to commence legal action. For example, if the injured person did not have employment, they cannot sue someone for lost wages. If there were no medical bills or expenses, they can’t try to recover what they didn’t spend.
What Kinds of Personal Injury Cases Does Our Law Firm Handle?
There are many circumstances in which someone’s negligence can cause personal injury. These are a few of the common types of negligence/personal injury cases we have taken on:
Car accidents are pretty common and can range from minor damage to the vehicles to significant damage and devastating personal injuries and even death. Just last year, according to the UConn Crash Data Repository:
- There were 96,167 vehicular crashes in Connecticut, which involved 180,787 vehicles and 230,626 people.
- Of these collisions, 217 were fatal, with 387 dead.
- The year 2022 saw a spike in collisions in Connecticut.
The Repository also lists a number of roadways and interstate highways in Hartford County where a number of car accidents have occurred. They include I-84, I-91 Route 44, Broad Street, Wethersfield Avenue, Park Street, Route 15, Main Street No. 1, and Capitol Avenue.
Big Rig and 18-Wheeler Accidents
Being substantially larger than regular passenger vehicles and often carrying heavy loads, commercial trucks can cause significant damage when involved in an accident. The number of truck collisions resulting in injuries or deaths has risen significantly in the past few years — and the number of trucks on CT roads is only going to increase. There were 197.8 million tons of freight moved in 2014; forecasts predict a whopping 315.4 million in 2040.
Consider how many interstate highways go through Connecticut, including I-82, I-84, I-86, I-87, I-89, I-91, I-95, I-284, I-291, I-384, I-395, I-484, I-491, I-684, and I-691.
Many truck accidents have been caused or exacerbated by:
- Driver fatigue due to pressure to meet deadlines, in spite of limits in federal regulations
- Driving under the influence, reckless driving, and distracted driving
- Improper loading of cargo or failure to properly secure a load
- Defective truck parts
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), people on motorcycles are 4 times more likely to be injured in a vehicular accident and almost 30 times more likely than people in cars to have a fatal collision. Every year in Connecticut alone, more than 50 motorcyclists die in road accidents. In 2021, for example, there were 68 such fatalities — the highest number in more than three decades.
Size and visibility are serious safety challenges for motorcyclists, and it is not surprising that their injuries can often be catastrophic, such as severe burns, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries.
Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable when it comes to the road. According to Connecticut By the Numbers:
- About half of the approximately 1.25 million collision fatalities around the globe every year.
- Every year in the US, there are around 6,000 pedestrian and 850 cyclist deaths caused by accidents, making up almost 20% of collision fatalities.
In Connecticut specifically, cars hit around 1,500 pedestrians and 550 cyclists annually — the number of fatalities having at least doubled since 2011. The situation — and numbers — has been getting so bad that back in 2021, Connecticut Public Act No. 21-28 came into effect. This law was enacted to increase the fines for distracted driving and to grant the right of way to pedestrians who affirmatively indicate they are going to cross at a crosswalk. Despite this recent action, many are worried that it won’t be enough to reverse the upward trend.
Accidental and Unintentional Deaths
Apart from the types of accidents above — car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian traffic collisions — there are a variety of ways an unintentional death can occur. It could be a case of medical malpractice or nursing home negligence. A defective product, like machinery, could cause a consumer’s death — at the workplace or somewhere else. A property owner who didn’t shovel accumulated snow off their steps could be liable if a visitor slipped and suffered a fatal head injury.
Even if one side is trying to characterize a death as “accidental,” if it would not have occurred at that time but for the negligent action or omission of another party, it may be a cause of wrongful death. Just because the end result — a human fatality — was not intentional does not automatically make it an accident. The key is whether the party who caused the death had a duty of care and departed from the standard of care, not whether the death was caused by an intentional act.
We are lucky in Connecticut to have more than 300 miles of breathtaking coastline and beautiful waters. Every year, locals and tourists alike partake in water activities in their spare time — whether it’s sailing, motorboating, waterskiing, fishing, or swimming. While most boat owners are responsible, some are unfortunately not, and the consequences can be disastrous. In 2021, there were over 40 separate boating accidents that caused the deaths of seven people. Many boating fatalities are preventable.
Common causes of boat fatalities include boat operator inexperience and/or inadequate safety training, intoxication, distracted boating or lack of attention, the vessel not being in adequate working condition, and failure to follow the rules of the waterway. If an injury or fatality occurs as the result of a boat owner’s or operator’s negligence, a court will determine whether their actions or inactions make them liable for the aftermath of the boat accident and how much the award of damages should be.
Property owners and managers in Glastonbury and Hartford County — and in most jurisdictions — have a responsibility to maintain their properties so that guests and visitors are safe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a private property, a store, an office, a hotel, or a nightclub; if you incur injuries on someone else’s property because of that person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. This area of law is known as premises liability. Examples include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents due to snow and ice
- Animal attacks
- Drowning in a swimming pool
- Fire or electrocution because of faulty wiring
- Unsecured objects or falling hazards
- Exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals
- Assaults or other crimes that occur because of inadequate security
If you are on someone’s property legally and their dog bites you, the strict liability dog bite statute in Connecticut works in your favor. Strict liability in the case of a dog bite means that it doesn’t matter whether the owner knew their dog was vicious or dangerous. You don’t have to prove that this person was negligent. They are supposed to know that their pet could attack, and they are responsible for keeping others safe.
Catastrophic injuries are those that are so severe that they render you unable to work on a permanent basis and may mean that you need support for the rest of your life. Here are some examples of catastrophic injury:
- Traumatic brain injuries causing cognitive dysfunction and speech or memory problems
- Amputations that affect your mobility or ability to work
- Severe burns, serious infections, or chronic pain that impact your day-to-day life and/or work
- Spinal cord injuries and resulting paralysis and/or other problems with bodily functions
- Organ damage
There are many potential causes, including automobile accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, and more.
Glastonbury Injury Law Firm Representing You
Contrary to popular belief, an accident lawyer doesn’t just conduct personal injury trials. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, here are some of the ways your Glastonbury personal injury attorney can assist you:
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Any injury lawyer will tell you that you have to be careful when you talk to insurance company representatives. While insurance is supposed to help victims, it is still first and foremost a business. This means that the insurance company will be looking for evidence to limit your claim so they can pay out less. An accident attorney in Glastonbury can speak on your behalf and make sure your legal rights and entitlements are protected.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
When it comes to personal injury, medical evidence tends to be crucial. Many injuries, however, may not be obvious right away. A seasoned personal injury attorney will know if you should get a second opinion or follow up with certain injuries. They will also know what witnesses you should have on board, including expert witnesses, should you proceed to trial.
Most lawsuits never make it to trial because of the costs and the potential stakes, but you still need to make sure you aren’t hampered or lowballed during settlement discussions. An accident lawyer will know what you’re entitled to and will fight for the best settlement for you.
Going to court means stringent deadlines, evidentiary rules about witness and other testimony, persuasive legal argument, and knowledge of statute and case law precedents. It is always recommended to have a properly trained, experienced attorney conduct a trial on your behalf.
At Hassett & George, we have represented clients in all types of wrongful death, negligence, and personal injury cases, including product liability, premises liability, and motor vehicle accidents. In some cases, we have gotten our clients awards of more than $1 million. Read up on some of our success stories.
How Are Settlements and Compensation Determined?
Each case is different. What constitutes an appropriate settlement sum or damages award will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Type and extent of the personal injury
- Expenses — medical, counseling, rehabilitation, caregiver
- Economic losses suffered — lost wages, lost future opportunities
- Non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, mental/emotional distress
- Egregiousness of the defendant’s actions/negligence, which could attract an award of punitive damages
- Contributory negligence — how much at fault the plaintiff was, which would affect how much of the damages award the plaintiff will actually be granted
Your personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you what you may be entitled to and what your best options are.
Serving Glastonbury, CT
Glastonbury, CT is a delightful place to live and work. With notable town events such as the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce Apple Fest and June Strawberry Moon Festival — as well as drama, family, art, and sporting events — we enjoy culture, community, nature, and amazing produce and parks all year round. That’s why we are proud to serve the residents of Glastonbury and Hartford County and to diligently protect their rights.
Connecticut Personal Injury Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been impacted by a personal injury, you deserve a reliable, dependable personal injury lawyer in Glastonbury, CT. We have extensive experience in negligence cases dealing with many areas of the law. As fellow residents of Hartford Country, we work hard to ensure that you get the compensation to which you are rightly entitled. Contact us today — we will be by your side, on your side.