Four important ways Covid-19 will impact your personal injury case in Connecticut, and what you can do about it.

If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or other accident in Connecticut, and the accident wasn't your fault, then you have good personal injury case in Connecticut. 

Are your legal rights protected?  Do you have lawyer to answer your questions? 

Having a good Connecticut personal injury case means you have the right to sue the responsible party for monetary compensation for the harms and losses caused by the accident.  If your losses are large, then you are entitled to large compensation.  If your injury occurred on the job, then you can file a Connecticut Workers' Compensation claim regardless of whether the accident was your fault.

If you are from a Southeastern, Connecticut town like Stonington, Groton, New London, Norwich, and the other surrounding towns west to the Connecticut River, then your personal injury lawsuit will probably be filed in the Connecticut Superior Court in New London, Connecticut.  If your accident occurred while you were working, then you have a Connecticut Workers Compensation claim, and that will likely be filed with the Workers' Compensation Commission in Norwich, Connecticut. 

Your personal injury case must be brought within the time period required by law.  If that time period has passed, then your case will probably be barred, unless an exception applies, which rarely happens. The rule that sets the applicable time period to sue is called a statute of limitations.  In Connecticut there are many applicable statutes of limitations depending upon the type of your case.  

Therefore, if you believe you have a good personal injury case, or Workers' Compensation claim you should contact a Connecticut personal injury lawyer to discuss your important rights, and to confirm the applicable statute of limitations that might apply to your case.

The Covid-19 outbreak has caused significant delays to personal injury cases, and Workers' Compensation claims brought in Connecticut. 

1. Courts are substantially shut down. 

The Connecticut Judicial Branch, the agency responsible for the Court system, has significantly limited the amount of business they can handle during the Covid-19 outbreak.  Many Courts have been shut down.  For those that remain open, only "emergency" type hearings are going forward.  Therefore, while cases can be filed you should expect they delays.  

2. Jury trials are no going forward.

Jury trials are presently not going forward.  Moreover, unfortunately, the Judicial Branch has no clear plan as to when jury trials will start again.  Therefore, cases that were otherwise ready for a jury trial have been delayed.   

3. Pending cases are delayed due to canceled settlement conferences.  

Cases move forward with settlement conferences, and scheduling conferences.  These are meetings between the plaintiff's lawyer, defendant's lawyer, and the judge.  These meetings give the parties an opportunity to discuss their case with the help of a judge in an effort to settle the case, or move the case forward to a jury trial.  These meetings are an important part of any civil case, and are very important to the flow of business through the Courts.  Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, many settlement conferences, and scheduling conferences have been delayed.

4. The insurance industry is well aware of the delay.

Unfortunately, delays play into the hands of the defendant in a civil case.  The only real threat to a defendant is a scheduled a jury trial next week.  You can't force a defendant to pay you fair compensation.  All you can do is take them to trial, and then the jury will render a verdict.  The insurance companies that represent the defendants are well aware of the delays, and have little incentive to settle until the Connecticut Court begin to move business along. 

 

What can you do about the delays in the Court system.

Overall, there is little that you can do to solve these problems.  Here, are two suggestions to help.

First, if you have a pending personal case in Connecticut, you can file an Offer of Compromise under Connecticut General Statute § 52-192a.   In Connecticut, under the Offer of Compromise rules, the plaintiff can make a settlement offer in the form of an "offer of compromise," and if the defendant does not accept your settlement offer, then the defendant might be responsible for substantial interest payments when the case ends.  This provides and incentive for parties to settle their cases early, and reasonably. 

So, for example, if you are from Groton, Connecticut, and were in a motorcycle accident in East Lyme, Connecticut caused by a person driving a car from Norwich, then you can file your lawsuit in the Connecticut Superior Court in New London, Connecticut.  Now assume you are seriously injured.  Also, assume the maximum insurance coverage is Three Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000.00).  If you believe that a reasonable settlement sum is Three Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000.00), then you can promptly file an Offer of Compromise for the maximum insurance amount.  This will provide an incentive to the defendant's insurance company to settle the case, or risk exposure to an interest claim, or a bad faith claim. 

Second, tell your legislators, Judicial Branch officers, and anyone at the Governor's office, that you are not happy with the apparent slowness at which the Judicial Branch is moving business.  You voice counts.

 

Where to find help with your personal injury case in Connecticut.

If you or anyone you know has been injured in Connecticut, and you need a Connecticut personal injury lawyer, contact the personal injury lawyers at The Bartinik Law Firm LLC at 860-445-8521.  We are based in Southeastern Connecticut with an office in Groton, Connecticut.

Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut