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 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.


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.


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.

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.

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?

Ask About Legal Malpractice Insurance

Hiring a lawyer? Ask this question about legal malpractice insurance. Also checkout my first Facebook live video below.

This post deals with legal malpractice Insurance. 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. Nor are they 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.

Every lawyer can make a mistake. Experienced lawyers. New lawyers. At firms large and small. To err is to human. Law is harsh. Law has a lot of deadlines.


My partner, Andrew Garza writes in response to the video: I can’t agree more. Time and time again I’ve told fellow attorneys that legal malpractice insurance is not just for them (though it is certainly important to protect yourself too). It’s a sign that the lawyer truly cares about their clients. No lawyer wants to make a mistake. But, every lawyer should want to make sure their client’s recovery is not lost if a mistake does happen.

Ask Us About Legal Malpractice Insurance

Your case is important. Don’t wait until it is too late to find out your lawyer doesn’t carry insurance. Empower yourself. Ask the question directly to the lawyer you are interviewing. The answer should be straightforward.

Connecticut Trial Firm LLC carries legal malpractice insurance. We welcome tough questions from potential clients. If you have a question about a Connecticut legal malpractice case contact Ryan at 860 471 8333.

Does Your Lawyer Have Legal Malpractice Insurance?
Does Your Lawyer Have Legal Malpractice Insurance?

My Lawyer Shouldn’t Have Settled My Case

My lawyer shouldn’t have settled my case. Are you the victim of legal malpractice?

Do you feel like you didn’t get a good settlement? Or your attorney failed to explain to you the terms of the settlement? Do you regret settling your case?

legal malpractice attorney ct
Did your attorney commit malpractice in settling your case? Contact a legal malpractice attorney in Connecticut.

Did your attorney commit legal malpractice in giving you bad settlement advice?

Did your lawyer commit dram shop notice malpractice? 

Legal Malpractice Basics

Connecticut law favors private resolution of claims through settlements.

Attorneys giving advice to clients as to whether to accept or reject offers of settlement are still required to employ that same skill, knowledge, and diligence with which they pursue all other legal tasks.

The Connecticut Civil Jury Instruction on this issue reads as follows:

In advising a client concerning settlement, the attorney must exercise that degree of learning and skill which the average and ordinarily prudent attorney in that line of practice in Connecticut would apply under all the relevant circumstances. Consequently, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, not only that the defendant rendered certain settlement advice which the plaintiff followed to his financial detriment, but also that the advice given to (him/her) fell below the standard for lawyers in that field of practice in Connecticut.

Simple regret is not enough.

Legal Settlement Malpractice Factors:

Your attorney may have committed malpractice if:

  1. He failed to investigate the personal assets of the defendant and advised you to settle for the available insurance coverage. We run asset searches on defendants where a policy limit is likely to be reached. This way our clients have a better idea on the possibility of collecting a judgment over the insurance policy;
  2. He failed to present the full scope of your injuries to the defendant;
  3. He advised settlement because he failed to prepare your case.

Settlement Malpractice Conclusion

Settlements are serious business. They are the final resolution of all of your claims against a defendant. Know your rights.

If you find yourself in these or similar situations, I can evaluate your case. (860) 471-8333.