Do I Have to Claim with Insurance or Can I Sue Right Away?

Posted on 03/24/23

Claim with Insurance

Understanding how to protect your finances after a motor vehicle accident in Connecticut can feel overwhelming. You want to rely on your insurance company or the other driver’s policy to cover your damages, but this doesn’t always work out, especially with expensive medical bills or long-term injuries. In a nutshell, you will need to file a claim with the insurance company after a motor vehicle crash.

Understanding how insurance claims versus lawsuit options impact your outcome can help you protect your finances and rights. 

Your Options After a Car Accident

Connecticut follows the “fault” insurance system, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance company must pay for the accident’s damages, including injuries. Unfortunately, determining fault in an accident includes many gray areas. While you may believe the other driver clearly caused the accident, many small factors can place you on the hook for partial liability, preventing you from receiving the compensation you need. 

Your primary options after a car accident include the following:

Seek compensation from the other driver’s policy. Third-party claims allow you to seek compensation directly from the at-fault party’s insurer, though agreeing on a settlement involves many complexities. The company will likely provide a lowball offer or attempt to make you assume partial liability. 

File a claim with your insurance company. First-party claims typically apply when the other driver does not have coverage to fund the wreck or if you wish to file with your company for medical bill coverage. 

File a lawsuit. If you cannot land on a settlement that covers your damages, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. 

Insurance Claim Requirements in Connecticut

Regardless of the route you choose, you will need to make an insurance claim first to notify insurers of the accident. Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer will require that you file the claim within a few days or up to a couple of weeks following the accident, though some policies have windows as short as 24 hours. 

After hiring a lawyer, you can send a demand letter, which will result in your first settlement offer or denial. Your attorney can help you negotiate settlements and decide whether or not to accept an offer or escalate the case. 

Connecticut’s Statute of Limitations for Filing Lawsuits

Understanding the particular scenarios related to filing an insurance claim versus a lawsuit depends on your scenario. If you decide to escalate the case into a lawsuit because the insurance company refuses to offer sufficient funds for your damages, you will have limited time to begin the process. Connecticut’s statute of limitations on car accident and personal injury claims is two years, with only a few exceptions. 

The driver’s insurance company may respond with aggressive legal actions or additional settlement offers. You may be able to settle outside of court, or your attorney may need to fight for your case. 

What You Should Know About Connecticut’s Comparative Negligence Law

Connecticut follows comparative negligence law, which means you may assume partial liability for a personal injury accident, decreasing the percentage of the compensation you may be eligible to receive. For example, if a drunk driver hits your vehicle at night, but you had a tail light out, the jury may decide that you’re 10% liable for the accident, which would only make you eligible for 90% of the settlement.

Because of Connecticut’s complex liability laws, you are well-advised to seek support from an experienced car accident attorney to support your case. 

Contact a Car Accident Attorney to Seek Compensation Today

At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we can help you understand the differences in potential compensation between an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit after a car accident. Contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome today in Connecticut at (475) 241-0824 to speak with a professional car accident attorney from our team or contact us online right now.