Connecticut Personal Injury Trials

Connecticut Personal Injury Trials by Ryan McKeen

Movies, TV reports, and books are almost always written about one aspect of law: trial. No one has yet to sell a movie about the attorney who drafted the most amazing trust ever.

This post explores the elements of a Connecticut personal injury jury trial. Personal injuries include: car wrecks; medical negligence; legal malpractice; dog bites; fall downs; negligent security; and dental malpractice cases amongst other things. Personal injury cases can be tried before a judge or a jury. However, they are most commonly tried before a jury. This post deals with jury trials only.

Connecticut Personal Injury Trials
Connecticut Personal Injury Trials

Voir Dire

Every Connecticut personal injury trial begins with jury selection (voir dire). In jury selection the lawyers for the parties seat 8 jurors. There are 6 jurors and 2 alternates. Each lawyer can strike 4 jurors for any legal reason (can’t discriminate on basis of race for example). Other jurors can be removed for “cause”. Cause is simply a bias that would prevent the person from serving. Jury selection in Connecticut can take as little time as a day and possibly a week or more.

Opening Statements

Opening statements are an opportunity for all parties to introduce their respective cases to the jury. Opening statements are not evidence. The purpose is to allow the parties the opportunity to orient the jury to issues they may hear in the case. The plaintiff gives the first opening statement. And then the defendant gives an opening statement. Opening statements can vary in length depending on the evidence that will be presented at trial. Lawyers do not argue in opening statements.

Plaintiff Case In Chief

The plaintiff must present his or her case. In an injury case the plaintiff may call all or some of the following people: eye witnesses; police officers; records keepers; doctors; family; the plaintiff; expert witnesses; and other fact witnesses. The plaintiff has the sole burden to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence. During this time the defense may cross examine any of the plaintiff’s witnesses.

Defense Case

The defense does not have to call any witnesses. The defense does not have to prove anything. The defendant may choose to call its own experts, fact witnesses, or any other person useful to explaining its case. The plaintiff has the opportunity to cross examine defense witnesses.

Rebuttal Witnesses

The plaintiff may choose to call witnesses to rebut the defendant’s case.

Evidence

Evidence in Connecticut Personal Injury Cases comes in the form of testimony both live and recorded, documents, and pictures.

Closing Arguments

Unlike opening statements, attorneys are permitted to argue what they think the evidence means. Closing arguments are not evidence. The plaintiff goes first, followed by the defendant, and then the plaintiff has one last opportunity to rebut what the defense has said in closing arguments.

Deliberations

The judge will instruct the jury on the law. This is called a jury charge. Once the jury is charged they will go into a private room and deliberate. Juries have as long as they would like to deliberate. When a jury reaches a decision it is called a verdict.

Verdict

The jury foreperson gives a note to the jury clerk stating that a verdict has been reached. The jury then returns to the courtroom and presents the verdict to the court clerk. The court clerk then reads the verdict. Then judgment enters and the case is over.

This is the basic structure of a Connecticut personal injury trial. Many pages could be written about any of the phases of a trial. If you have any questions about Connecticut personal injury trials please contact Ryan McKeen at 860 471-8333. I make myself available for media inquires.

I Was In A Car Accident Do I Have To Pay Copays?

I was in a car accident do I have to pay copays?

Car Accident Do I Have To Pay Copays

You are driving home from work. Or maybe on your way to the store. And suddenly someone drives into you. You were doing nothing wrong. The other driver wasn’t paying attention. Maybe he was on his cell phone. Maybe his mind was on going to the casino after work. Whatever the reason the result is your life has been turned upside down.

Car Accident Do I Have To Pay Copays
Car Accident Do I Have To Pay Copays

Your car is damaged. You need a rental car. You are in pain and can’t work. Suddenly doing simple things like grocery shopping are a challenge. And then there’s copays.

I just selected my health insurance plan for the coming year. The copays are high. If me or a member of my family were in a car accident the copays could be budget busting. As an attorney, it’s no surprise I’m often asked about copays. With most folks budgets stretched thin copays can present a real problem.

Why should I have to pay copays? The Connecticut car accident was not my fault.

Under Connecticut law it is the injured victim’s obligation to pay medical bills including copays. It doesn’t matter who caused the wreck. If the other driver is at fault. You remedy is to seek reimbursement from the person who hit you.

Why does the at-fault driver’s insurance company not pay my copays?

Car insurance companies will not pay “as you go” for medical treatment. Insurance adjusters will only reimburse for medical treatment after all treatment has ended. Unfortunately for those without health insurance or the ability to pay, this frequently means they will have to forego necessary medical treatment or borrow money to pay for it.

What to do about copays?

The good news is your have options. We keep a list of treaters who will take folks on a letter of protection. A letter of protection means your copays will be paid to the provider out of any settlement or verdict.  We can explore the option of a loan against a potential settlement from a third party lender.

The stress of these copays is often overwhelming for an injured person. Many folks choose not to get the treatment they need because they can’t pay the copays. That’s not right.

It is important to keep the copay bills and send them to your lawyer. That way you can be assured they are paid in any settlement.

You may also be interested in knowing your Connecticut rental car rights after a car accident , what to do about your vehicle losing value in a wreck, and who pays your medical bills.  You may also find my Connecticut Car accident law library of posts to be useful.

If you would like a free evaluation of your case contact CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame Finalist Attorney Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333. I’m here to listen and help.

Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law

Know your rights when your vehicle lost value after an accident law.

Introduction Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law Connecticut

Who wants to buy a car that has been in a wreck? I mean someone will. But no one is interested in paying full value for the car. They’ll want a discount of some sort.

So you’re in a car wreck. The shop is doing repairs. Maybe they have even given you a decent rental car. The person who hit you’s insurance company is paying for the repairs.

Should the insurance company in Connecticut have to pay for your car’s loss of value?

Vehicle Lost Value After Accident Law
Vehicle Lost Value After Accident Law

The answer is they do.

Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law Connecticut

Connecticut law says that when someone is at fault in an accident they have an obligation to make the person they hit whole. Not half whole. Not partially whole. But whole whole. This means they have to pay for your repairs, your rental car, your loss of income, your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and any future medical bills.

The Office of Legislative Research summarizes the difference between making a claim against the person who hit you and the claim against your own insurance (very different).

If the accident was your fault

In Connecticut, a claim under a person’s personal auto insurance policy (“first-party claim”) for diminution of value is typically not covered. The policy language specifies that the insurance covers the cost of repairing the vehicle or, if considered a total loss, the actual cash value. It does not specify payment for lost market value. The policy may even include specific language excluding coverage for diminution in value.

If the accident was the fault of someone else

Connecticut case holds that the negligent person is responsible for the diminished value of the vehicle. A person whose vehicle is damaged in an accident may submit a claim for diminution of value against the negligent driver’s auto insurance policy. The policy’s property damage liability coverage pays for this. The measure of damages recoverable is the vehicle’s reasonable market value before the accident minus its reasonable market value after the accident, plus interest from the date of loss.

What To Do

The fact that the insurance company has to pay for the loss of your car is bedrock Connecticut law (Littlejohn v. Elionsky, 130 Conn. 541, 36 A.2d 52 (1944)).Insurance companies often try and tell people the law does not cover loss of value. Or they lie through omission by telling them nothing at all. Insurance companies are not your friend.  These kinds of claims are called diminished value claims

I’m not a property damage lawyer. I don’t take any fee on property damage claims from car wrecks. I’m an injury lawyer who understands that one of the first problems my clients often face deals with getting their car fixed after a wreck. I know. I’ve been there. The last thing you want to deal with as you are trying to get better is an insurance company out to pay you as little as they possibly can. If you think they’re not going to be fair with your property value claim you can imagine how they’re going to treat your injury claim.

If you have been injured in a car wreck and would like a free consultation please contact me – Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333 or ryan@cttrialfirm.com Take the next step. I can help you navigate this area of law.

I’ve been honored by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a Personal Injury Hall of Fame inductee. In 2015, I achieved one of the highest settlements in the State of Connecticut – 2.25 million. I have settled multiple cases for over $100,000. But none of that matters. That is about me. You can read more about me on my Avvo profile.

Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney – Ryan McKeen

Are you looking for a Glastonbury personal injury attorney?

You are driving along. You are doing the right thing. Another driver chooses not to pay attention. Suddenly your life has changed. The change can range from anything to a nuisance if you are fortunate to life altering if you are not.

Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen
Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve had an anxiety attack driving down the highway after my car accident. My trust was shattered. I knew that life could turn on a dime. One moment I’m driving. The next the noise. The horrific noise. Metal on metal. Then there’s asking if everyone in my car is alright. Then the police. And then the pain. And the bills. And the loss of my car. And the insurance companies calling me. And the painful recovery.

I was grateful to seek counsel from a respected attorney who helped me through the process. My rights were explained to me. He dealt with the insurance company. He helped make sure the insurance company fairly compensate me for my loss. Something that surely would not have happened without him.

Now I am that attorney. That shelter. It is my passion.

I believe that knowledge is one of the first steps in recovery. They come from over a decade of representing injured plaintiffs. They also come from my experience representing loved ones who have had a family member killed by someone violating safety rules.

I am a trial lawyer. That means I try cases. I am dedicated to my craft. And the results speak for themselves. Because I am a trial lawyer many of my cases settle. I don’t take the first offer. Many of my cases settle early because they know I’ll fight the fight.

I have founded the Connecticut Personal Injury Vault to provide accurate information to folks who are injured or have suffered the loss of a love one. I can’t represent everyone and this is my way of helping as many people as I can.  I handle wrongful death cases, car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, falls, legal malpractice, and dog bite cases.

If you need help, have a question, or would like a free case review just call Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333. There is never a charge for a consultation. If I accept your case there is no fee unless I recover money for you.

My office is conveniently located in Glastonbury. If you are injured, I can also come meet you at your home or hospital.

I’m a Glastonbury Personal Injury Attorney and I’ve been honored by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a Personal Injury Hall of Fame inductee. In 2015, I achieved one of the highest settlements in the State of Connecticut – 2.25 million. I have settled multiple cases for over $100,000. But none of that matters. That is about me. You can read more about me on my Avvo profile.

Who Pays My Medical Bills After A Car Accident?

Who pays my medical bills after a car accident in Connecticut?

Who pays my medical bills after a car accident?
Who pays my medical bills after a car accident?

Even with health insurance car accident victims find that themselves facing significant hospital and doctors bills –  deductibles, copays or even the full bill. The notices pile up.

The calls keep coming. They threaten to report you to credit bureaus. They may even sue you. You have suffered an injury and now you are suffering injustice.

I believe that knowledge is power. I was the victim of a car accident. I’ve been there. I hired a lawyer to help deal with the insurance companies. It made all of the difference. Now I’m in a place to help others.

Here are some common issues faced by victims of Connecticut car accidents:

Why should I have to pay the bills? The Connecticut car accident was not my fault?

Under Connecticut law it is the injured victim’s obligation to pay medical bills. It doesn’t matter who caused the wreck. If the other driver is at fault. You remedy is to seek reimbursement from the person who hit you.

Why does the at-fault driver’s insurance company not pay my bills?

Liability insurance companies will not pay “as you go” for medical treatment. Insurance adjusters will only reimburse for medical treatment after all treatment has ended. Unfortunately for those without health insurance or the ability to pay, this frequently means they will have to forego necessary medical treatment or borrow money to pay for it.

Will my doctor treat me if promise to pay after my settlement?

Some healthcare providers will not provide treatment under a promise to pay later. Others will agree to accept a letter of protection  from an attorney. A letter of protection is a contract from you and your Connecticut car accident lawyer agreeing to pay the doctor for medical fees out of any settlement or verdict.

Who pays my medical bills after a car accident? Will my auto insurance pay my medical bills?

Your car insurance company is not responsible for paying for medical bills stemming from a car accident. Some Connecticut insurance policies do have “medical payments” coverage or medpay. This is additional insurance that must be purchased prior to your accident. Med Pay will provide money for things like bills and co-pays.

What You Can Do

I can help you deal with these bill collectors. Some will agree to letters of protection. We can explore the option of a loan against a potential settlement from a third party lender.

The stress of these bills is overwhelming for an injured person. Many folks ignore them. It is important to keep the bills and send them to your lawyer. That way you can be assured they are paid in any settlement.

You may also be interested in knowing your Connecticut rental car rights after a car accident. You may also find my Connecticut Car accident law library of posts to be useful.

If you would like a free evaluation of your case contact CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame Finalist Attorney Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333. I’m here to listen and help.

CT Car Accident Rental Law

CT Car Accident Rental Law by Attorney Ryan McKeen

A car accident shattered my world. I was driving along in a car that I loved. A car that I owned. One that worked fine. And suddenly it was mangled and undriveable. The body shop guy said it was “totaled”. I no longer had a car.

CT Car Accident Rental Law by Attorney Ryan McKeen
CT Car Accident Rental Law by Attorney Ryan McKeen

The car rental company wanted to put me in a vehicle that I was not comfortable driving. One much smaller than the vehicle I owned. And the anxiety I had while driving was overwhelming. A much smaller car made me very uncomfortable.

After a Car accident In Connecticut, what are my rights to a rental car? 

If you incur property damage to your vehicle as a result of someone else being at fault, you are entitled to compensation for loss of use of your property – including a rental vehicle. You are entitled to a comparable rental vehicle or reasonable compensation. You are entitled to a vehicle for a reasonable period of time necessary to settle your claim or repair your vehicle. A reasonable period of time for depends on the amount of time needed to repair the vehicle.

You may also have rental coverage under your own policy. Check with your insurance company. These may provide additional benefits to you.

I am an injury lawyer. I help people who are injured. A rental car is often one of the first obstacles faced by someone injured in a car accident. I never take a fee for property damage including rental cars. You can read about my policy here. I want you informed and empowered.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Connecticut you may benefit from my page on Connecticut Car Accident law.

If you would like to discuss your car accident injury case please contact Attorney Ryan McKeen at (860) 471-8333 or  ryan@cttrialfirm.com.

Sue My Attorney

Can I Sue My Attorney?
Can I Sue My Attorney?

Can I Sue My Attorney?

Lawsuits against lawyers and attorneys are called “legal malpractice” cases.

Lawyers can screw up in a number of ways. The most common errors that lawyers make are failing to file cases or notices in time – blowing a statute of limitations. And failing to file costs the client their claim. For example failing to give a town notice of a sidewalk or road defect.

Can I Sue My Attorney? What Do I have To Prove?

In a legal malpractice action, the client must prove 3 elements:

1) there was an attorney-client relationship;

2) the attorney departed from the standard of professional care owed to protect
the client’s legal interests in that matter; and

3) this departure caused harm to the client.

These three elements to win a legal malpractice case. In order to win, a plaintiff must prove all three.

Attorney Client Relationship Legal Malpractice Lawyer

An attorney client relationship can be proved by the existence of a fee agreement. It can also be proven through an admission by the attorney of such a relationship. Failing to have a fee agreement can be an ethical violation for an attorney.

The Case Within A Case

A simple mistake does not give rise to legal malpractice. The mistake must result in harm. This often is referred to as “a case within a case”. A person seeking to prove legal malpractice must prove that it was more likely than not that he would have prevailed in the original case.

For example if your lawyer blew the statute of limitations on a case that you would have lost there is no claim for legal malpractice. There would be no harm to you.

Hiring A Legal Malpractice Lawyer

You need to hire a lawyer who understands both the responsibilities of lawyers and how to win an underlying injury case.

When we prosecute legal malpractice cases against attorneys who have screwed up – I hire and consult with expert attorneys. I am also called upon by other attorneys to serve as an expert witness.

If you believe you have a legal malpractice claim please contact Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333. The only way to know “Can I sue my attorney” is to schedule a no obligation consultation.

I’m a lawyer who wants you to know your rights. I’ve set up the Legal Malpractice Vault to empower you.

You may also like to know if your lawyer has legal malpractice insurance?

3 Questions To Ask A CT Car Accident Attorney

3 Questions To Ask A CT Car Accident Attorney
3 Questions To Ask A CT Car Accident Attorney

3 Questions To Ask A CT Car Accident Attorney

I’m going to cut to the signal. Here are 3 questions to ask a CT car accident attorney before you hire.

A lot of the information on the internet is noise. Legal websites are written by marketers or even robots. With all that’s out there you’d think it would be easier to hire the right attorney for your case. I’m not sure it is. In many ways the legal marketplace seems less efficient than it did prior to the digital revolution.

I’ve been there. There’s the constant pain. The insurance companies keep calling. The forms sent to me. They have paid me less than my car was worth. I had done nothing wrong and I just wanted it all to go away. And if you’re in the same place, I’d like to help you.

1. Do You Have Legal Malpractice Insurance

Ask this question.

I have done 100s if not 1000s of potential client interviews. I have never been asked about my insurance.

Connecticut lawyers are not required to insurance.  Attorneys are not required to disclose that they don’t carry legal malpractice insurance.

Lawyers can commit legal malpractice in a variety of ways. The most common way is failing to file suit within the statute of limitations period or failing to give proper notice.  Lawyers can also commit malpractice by wrongfully settling your case. Make no mistake about it, legal malpractice insurance protects clients. I have written an entire post about asking this question. Read it. It’s that important. 

2. Do You Do CT Car Accident Focus Groups?

We don’t guess. I ask.  Doing low cost focus groups on my injury cases has a high impact. Not every case needs a focus group. Focus groups are where we ask potential jurors about issues. They help inform us about the strengths and weaknesses in a case. We have invested a lot of time and resource into our focus group practice.

The focus groups we do don’t result in thousands of dollars being added to the expense ledger in your case. We do them for several hundred dollars.

Ask your injury lawyer about focus groups. Do they do them? What is the cost?

3. Do You Focus Your Practice on Personal Injury?

Practicing law is hard. It is hard to be good at more than a few areas of law. Law changes quickly.  Lawyers who concentrate on an area of law understand the rapidly changing playing fields in those areas.

These are just some of the questions that I would ask an attorney if I were hiring. I would of course do other diligence on the lawyer but I’d ask at least these questions. The answers would help me make a more informed decision.

You can read more about Connecticut Car Accident law by clicking here.

If you have been in a CT Car accident, I am happy to answer your questions. Contact Attorney Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333 or fill out the form below.

Offer of Compromise In CT

3 Things You Need To Know About A Connecticut Offer Of Compromise.

The decision of when and for how much to file an offer of compromise in a Connecticut personal injury case is an important one. One with far reaching consequences.

This video explains what an (1) offer of compromise is; (2) when it can be filed; and (3) what it does.

 

Connecticut Offer of Compromise Statute

Sec. 52-192a. Offer of compromise by plaintiff. Acceptance by defendant. Amount and computation of interest. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, after commencement of any civil action based upon contract or seeking the recovery of money damages, whether or not other relief is sought, the plaintiff may, not earlier than one hundred eighty days after service of process is made upon the defendant in such action but not later than thirty days before trial, file with the clerk of the court a written offer of compromise signed by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney, directed to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney, offering to settle the claim underlying the action for a sum certain. For the purposes of this section, such plaintiff includes a counterclaim plaintiff under section 8-132. The plaintiff shall give notice of the offer of compromise to the defendant’s attorney or, if the defendant is not represented by an attorney, to the defendant himself or herself. Within thirty days after being notified of the filing of the offer of compromise and prior to the rendering of a verdict by the jury or an award by the court, the defendant or the defendant’s attorney may file with the clerk of the court a written acceptance of the offer of compromise agreeing to settle the claim underlying the action for the sum certain specified in the plaintiff’s offer of compromise. Upon such filing and the receipt by the plaintiff of such sum certain, the plaintiff shall file a withdrawal of the action with the clerk and the clerk shall record the withdrawal of the action against the defendant accordingly. If the offer of compromise is not accepted within thirty days and prior to the rendering of a verdict by the jury or an award by the court, the offer of compromise shall be considered rejected and not subject to acceptance unless refiled. Any such offer of compromise and any acceptance of the offer of compromise shall be included by the clerk in the record of the case.

(b) In the case of any action to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death, whether in tort or in contract, in which it is alleged that such injury or death resulted from the negligence of a health care provider, the plaintiff may, not earlier than three hundred sixty-five days after service of process is made upon the defendant in such action, file with the clerk of the court a written offer of compromise pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and, if the offer of compromise is not accepted within sixty days and prior to the rendering of a verdict by the jury or an award by the court, the offer of compromise shall be considered rejected and not subject to acceptance unless refiled.

(c) After trial the court shall examine the record to determine whether the plaintiff made an offer of compromise which the defendant failed to accept. If the court ascertains from the record that the plaintiff has recovered an amount equal to or greater than the sum certain specified in the plaintiff’s offer of compromise, the court shall add to the amount so recovered eight per cent annual interest on said amount, except in the case of a counterclaim plaintiff under section 8-132, the court shall add to the amount so recovered eight per cent annual interest on the difference between the amount so recovered and the sum certain specified in the counterclaim plaintiff’s offer of compromise. The interest shall be computed from the date the complaint in the civil action or application under section 8-132 was filed with the court if the offer of compromise was filed not later than eighteen months from the filing of such complaint or application. If such offer was filed later than eighteen months from the date of filing of the complaint or application, the interest shall be computed from the date the offer of compromise was filed. The court may award reasonable attorney’s fees in an amount not to exceed three hundred fifty dollars, and shall render judgment accordingly. This section shall not be interpreted to abrogate the contractual rights of any party concerning the recovery of attorney’s fees in accordance with the provisions of any written contract between the parties to the action.

Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney

Offers of compromise can be filed in many kinds of cases: car accident cases, fall cases, dog bite cases, and legal malpractice cases.

Contact Connecticut personal injury attorney Ryan McKeen if you have a personal injury case. When you call, ask Ryan about an offer of compromise. Ryan can be reached at 860 471 8333.

Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Offer of Compromise
Offer of compromise by Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen

Connecticut Trial Firm’s No Wait Guarantee

We hate waiting. This is Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC’s “No Wait” Guarantee.

If we don’t see you within 5 minutes of a scheduled meeting time at our office we’ll give you a $25 Amazon Gift card. Your time matters to us. Your personal injury case matters to us. You matter to us.

Call us to discuss your Connecticut personal injury case. Call Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333. Call now. Don’t wait.

Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen getting an award from the CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame.
Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Ryan McKeen getting an award from the CT Personal Injury Hall of Fame. Connecticut Trial Firm’s No Wait Policy.