In a Connecticut negligence action, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act; the defendant breached their duty; the breach of the duty caused an injury to the plaintiff; the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury and the plaintiff suffered damages.
Connecticut General Statute § 52-572h states that contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in an action by any person or the person’s legal representative to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property if the negligence was not greater than the combined negligence of the person or persons against whom recovery is sought. Further, both economic and non-economic damages are to be reduced in proportion to the percentage of negligence attributable to the plaintiff. This means that a plaintiff can still recover even if partially at fault for the injury. Connecticut has a modified comparative fault system whereby the plaintiff can recover up to the point that their level of fault reaches 51%.
For example, if plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of $1,000,000 and a court or jury finds the plaintiff and defendant to each be 50% at fault, the plaintiff would be entitled to recover 50%, or $500,000 of their damages from the defendant. However, if the plaintiff was found to be 51% at fault, they would not be able to recover a monetary award.
Joint and Several Liability
Joint and several liability has been abolished in Connecticut. In cases involving multiple negligent defendants, a jury will assign a percentage of fault to each responsible party and the plaintiff will recover a separate damages award from each defendant which is directly proportionate to each defendant’s assigned percentage of fault.
Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Actual or economic damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for losses such as medical expenses for past, present and future medical care related to the claim, loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity. Also under the umbrella of compensatory damages are noneconomic damages which include, but are not limited to, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of consortium, etc.
In Connecticut, punitive damages may be awarded where the defendant acts with reckless indifference to the rights of others or an intentional and wanton violation of those rights.
Punitive damages awards in Connecticut in most tort cases are limited to plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs. However, there are certain circumstances in motor vehicle accident cases whereby a plaintiff may be entitled to an award of punitive damages which is equal to two or three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Connecticut. Should you have a question/concern specific to Connecticut law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut.