Here are 5 Things You Need To Know About Winning a CT Personal Injury Case.
The car accident. It happened years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago. You can still feel the injury. But the pain has long since gone from sharp to dull.
You can still vividly remember that day. You remember getting up. And thinking it was just like any other day. You got the kids ready for school. Walked them to the bus stop. And checked your email before going to work. You get into work and your coworker stops you to talk about last night’s Patriots game. You have a coffee. And begin working on your reports.
The day moves slowly. You get up and take a walk. Then you sit down at your desk and have the yogurt you packed for lunch. And the Cheez-Its you packed when you were making your kids’ lunch. You catch up on Facebook during your lunch. People are yelling at each other over the controversy of the day. You know, the controversy that they won’t even remember two months from now. What happened to the good days of pictures of food and kids? You can’t believe you even miss those days.
The afternoon drags. You reach for an afternoon coffee as you plod away at a report you’re not sure anyone will ever read. You get your work done. Throw your coat on and head to your car. Its chilly. You embrace your heated seats. You tell yourself it is all about the simple luxuries in life. And it is.
You get on the road and head home. You go through the intersection. And then there’s a noise. It’s terrible. The next thing you know a police officer is asking if you are okay. You say “I think so”. But you feel a pinching sensation in your leg. And your head hurts. They take you by ambulance to the hospital.
Your wife meets you there. She’s terrified. You tell her you’re okay. But you’re not sure. The doctor says you need surgery tomorrow. Your leg needs pins to be made normal. Or at least as normal as possible.
It’s surgery then rehab. It all hurts.
And then you find out the guy who hit you. Instead of having yogurt for lunch he as at the local watering hole. Your afternoon coffee was his afternoon whisky.
You hire the right lawyer. The insurance company low balls you. They aren’t even will to pay your medical bills for what their insured has done. Your lawyer fights onward. There are depositions. And the defense comes up with some nonsense theory as why their insured is not at fault. They won’t settle.
You win at trial. And the jury awards you money. Now what?
Here are 5 Things You Need To Know About Winning a CT Personal Injury Case
1. Defendant May File A Motion For Remittitur
The defendant may file a motion for remittitur. Remittitur is a motion to reduce a jury verdict that the defendant believes is excessive. the judge may order the plaintiff to remit a portion of the award. The remedy of remittitur is designed to cure an award of damages that is grossly excessive without the necessity of a new trial or an appeal. In some cases, an award by a jury is so completely out of line with the damages proven in the case that it is unconscionable. A motion for remittitur is brought under Connecticut Practice Book Section 16-35. The Defendant can also attempt to seek a new trial on such grounds.
2. Defendant May Seek A Collateral Source Reduction
Connecticut General Statute 52-255a allows a defendant to seek a collateral source reduction. Connecticut’s collateral source statute reads as follows (in relevant part):
[i]n any civil action, whether in tort or in contract, wherein the claimant seeks to recover damages resulting from (1) personal injury or wrongful death … and wherein liability is admitted or is determined by the trier of fact and damages are awarded to compensate the claimant, the court shall reduce the amount of such award which represents economic damages … by an amount equal to the total of amounts determined to have been paid under subsection (b) of this section less the total of amounts determined to have been paid under subsection (c) of this section ….
This if a health insurance company pays benefits without rights of subrogation there may be an offset entered. Of course, that offset is then offset by the amount of health insurance premiums you have paid.
Collateral source reductions can take time for the parties to figure out. And sometimes result in hearings. Delaying final judgment in a case by months.
3. Defendant May Appeal
A party generally has 20 days after the mailing of judgment to file an appeal in Connecticut. This can be extended several different ways including through a motion to reargue. But if you win your case the defendant can appeal. Appeals can take a year or more to resolve. And involve additional costs. If the defendant is successful there will likely be a new trial. Again, adding additional costs and delay. You have to pay experts to testify all over again.
4. Defendant May Go Bankrupt
There is always the possibility that a defendant goes bankrupt or even an insurance company goes bankrupt. This happens from time to time. In that case, your claim may be defeated in bankruptcy court. It’s like you never won. Your judgment will be uncollectible. Bankruptcy can happen at any time in a case.
5. You May Have To Chase Defendant For Money
If there is inadequate insurance to cover your judgment – you may have to seek wage, bank, and property executions to get paid. You may also have to file a lien on a defendant’s real property. You may not see your money at all. You may not see it for years.
There are risks of losing a personal injury trial and there are risks of winning a personal injury trial. Knowing these risks help you make an informed decision about whether or not to settle your case. And these factors are why many cases settle. Sometimes winning a trial is just the beginning.