Bustling cities like Bridgeport are hot zones for car accidents. Major highways, crowded urban streets, and even surrounding rural areas are likely spots for collisions. Whether you’re involved in a minor rear-end collision in stop-and-go traffic or a major high-speed accident, protect your rights as a victim with help from the Bridgeport personal injury attorneys at Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C. Our car accident lawyers in Bridgeport have represented accident victims for more than four decades, and we want to hear from you about your recent experience. You may be eligible for financial recovery through the civil claims system.

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How Can Harlow, Adams & Friedman Help?

The lawyers at Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C. can help you recover fair compensation for your car-accident related losses. We can assist with virtually every aspect of your claim, starting with taking over communications with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Insurance claims adjusters often try to take advantage of accident victims, even though they usually know less about the crash than the claimant. A lawyer handling negotiations for you can make sure the insurer doesn’t convince you to settle for less than your case is worth.

Our firm can also take care of evidence preservation and collection. We can take immediate action to safeguard evidence that may be important to your case, such as the other driver’s cell phone records or a commercial truck’s black box. We can start to gather evidence that may point to someone else’s negligence, hiring investigators and subject-matter experts as necessary. Our lawyers will communicate with you every step of the way, keeping you informed about the status of your claim while you focus on your physical recovery.

How to Hire a Bridgeport Car Accident Attorney

If you need someone to work with your doctors regarding medical bills, negotiate with insurance companies, build a strong case, and fight for maximum car accident compensation, contact our attorneys. We’ve represented clients and families throughout Connecticut for more than four decades and secured seven-figure settlements and verdicts for clients in the past. We’re passionate about helping crash victims in our community.

What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?

Although every Bridgeport car accident case is unique, all share the possibility of obtaining the same types of damages. In Connecticut, car accident victims have the right to seek recovery for two major damage categories. A wide variety of specific damages exist under the umbrellas of these two damage types. The types are as follows:

  1. Special compensatory damages. Special damages describe economic losses, usually with set amounts based on bills. Special damages include medical costs, treatment expenses, property damage repairs, lost income, legal fees, court costs, disability expenses (e.g. home or vehicle modifications), funeral/burial costs, and other financial damages relating to the wreck.
  2. General compensatory damages. General damages are non-economic and often intangible damages. They include physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, lost quality of life, loss of consortium, and lost enjoyment of life. A jury decides on the number of general damages a car accident victim deserves to receive.

Car accident claimants can seek recovery for punitive damages in addition to the two types of compensatory damages. For more information about what your Bridgeport claim could be worth, contact our lawyers. Your free case evaluation can include a discussion about your unique losses, what the value of your case might be, and what our strategies would be to achieve the best possible results.

Compensation After a Car Accident

One of the most pressing questions for most car accident victims is who will pay for damages. After dealing with medical bills, insurance claims adjusters, vehicle repairs, and lost income, you might be concerned about how much money you may be able to recover with a car accident claim. Evaluating the potential of your case can help you decide whether to file a lawsuit. Although each case is unique, the types of compensation available remain the same:

  • Medical bill reimbursement. Car accident victims have the opportunity to regain the costs of past and future medical expenses. These include doctor’s appointments, surgeries, treatments, rehabilitation, medical devices, medications, and live-in care.
  • Lost wage replacement. If you had to miss work because of your car accident injuries, seek damage recovery in the amount of the income you lost. You may also be eligible to be compensated for lost income capacity if the accident caused a disability.
  • Pain and suffering payments. The Connecticut courts permit car accident victims to seek restitution for non-economic damages, including physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, lost enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
  • Property damage repair costs. A car accident claim can make up the price of repairs to your wrecked vehicle or the costs to replace a totaled car. A mechanic can estimate what this value will be so you can include an accurate representation in your claim.
  • Punitive damages. The above-listed damages fall under “compensatory damages,” or damages designed to compensate a victim for his/her losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, aim to punish the defendant. They are additional damages a judge may award if he/she does not believe compensatory damages are enough under the circumstances.

Each car accident claim is different, with varying degrees of personal impact. A trial may result in greater compensation than an insurance settlement since juries are often more sympathetic toward car accident victims. It is the jury that decides the amount of pain and suffering damages. Get an accurate representation of the value of your specific car accident case through a free case evaluation. Only a lawyer can look into your case and give you a reliable estimate of what it might be worth.

Dealing With Insurance After a Car Accident

Like most other states, Connecticut follows “fault” car insurance laws. After a collision, all involved parties will look to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for restitution. As a victim, you will need to identify the driver you believe caused the accident, get his or her name and insurance company information, and call to file your claim. Most insurance companies have deadlines by which you must report a collision, so make the call as soon as possible. When dealing with another driver’s insurance company, follow these three “don’ts:”

  • Don’t admit fault. Never tell another driver’s insurance company that you think you caused the accident. Stick to the facts of the case, but do not admit fault. Instead, wait for investigators to assign fault. The other driver or a third party (such as a vehicle manufacturer) could share fault or be more liable than you are for the wreck. If you say you caused the crash, you could lose your right to compensation.
  • Don’t agree to give a recorded statement. Be wary if the insurance claims adjuster asks you for a recorded statement. The goal of this request is to catch you in a discrepancy with your story later, during a trial. The insurance agent can use anything you say during a recorded statement or interview against you in court. Politely say no to giving a recorded statement. Explain that you need to talk to an attorney before continuing.
  • Don’t say yes to the first settlement offer. Insurance companies almost never make their first offers their best offers. Instead, they lowball settlement amounts to open the floor for negotiation. Unfortunately, many claimants take insurance companies at their word when they say an offer is the “best” or “last.” Before trapping yourself into a settlement agreement that’s much too low for your damages, learn the true value of your case from an attorney.

If you need to file an accident claim with your own insurance company, the rules are a little different. Your contract may require you to give a recorded statement, for example. Always trust a lawyer to handle your insurance claim dealings on your behalf for the best possible settlement. Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C. knows all the best practices for communicating and negotiating with auto insurance companies. We can make sure you obtain fair compensation.

What to do After an Accident in Bridgeport

The steps you take after a crash can help protect yourself and your rights in the near future. The aftermath of an accident can be chaotic, but try to remain calm. When in doubt, call our car accident lawyers right away after a crash for counsel. Here are some steps we recommend to take for those in accidents in Bridgeport:

  • Step 1: Immediately check for injuries right after the car accident. If everyone is alright, take out your phone and start collecting evidence. Law enforcement and insurance companies have a hard time determining fault without evidence. Start recording videos and taking photos of the location of the cars before the other party can move their car. Take a lot of photos. Take photos of the other driver’s documents, the damage from multiple angles, skid marks, the accident scene location, license plate and insurance card. If there is more than one person in the car, take a picture of the driver so that the other person could not say that they were driving. Write down the time of day, where you were driving, what happened, and the other passenger’s information.
  • Step 2: Collect the other party’s information. Here is a list of important documents to keep track of driver’s license, license plate, phone number, license number, address, email address, car make, car model, car year, insurance policy co, insurance policy phone number, insurance policy ID number.
  • Step 3: Find the witnesses. Look for any public cameras that could have recorded the accident and put in a request for the footage as soon as you can. After submitting a request, it usually takes 2-3 weeks. It is very important to NOT to admit fault. You do not ever want to admit fault. Look for witnesses to the car accident and collect their information. Their statements on what happened are necessary when negotiating with your insurance in the future.
  • Step 4: Call the police. It is very important to have a documented police report of the accident to use as leverage when you are negotiating with your insurance. Your insurance will use the police report as evidence as to who is at fault.
  • Step 5: Talk to an attorney. Just because you aren’t the only person to have a car accident in Bridgeport doesn’t mean your crash isn’t special. Each accident is completely unique, and each deserves attention from an attorney. Whether you suffered personal injuries, property damage, or both in a recent car crash, come to talk to the personal injury lawyers at Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C., for a consultation as soon as possible. We will tailor a solution for your specific circumstances. Call (203) 878-0661 to reach our local attorneys at law.

Here is a helpful infographic about what to do after you get into a car accident.

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Facts About Bridgeport’s Infrastructure

Some cities lend themselves to car accidents more than others. Bridgeport is a thriving, densely populated metropolitan area with a complex streetscape that can be dangerous for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Despite ongoing projects to improve the streets, such as the Black Rock Streetscape Project, there are still plenty of risk-ridden areas for motorists. Damaged roadways, poor lighting, and confusing infrastructures all pose threats to unsuspecting drivers every day. These road hazards can cause car accidents as well as severe motorcycle accidents in Bridgeport. Not to mention driver errors such as distracted driving, speeding, red-light running, drunk driving, and drowsy driving are also culprits for these accidents.

In 2014 (the most recent year data is available), there were 10 fatal car accidents in Bridgeport, taking 11 lives. There were 295 accidents involving teenage drivers, 1,247 accidents involving aggressive driving, 43 involving alcohol, and 174 that were speed-related in Bridgeport the same year. Hundreds of other local accidents caused minor to major personal injuries and expensive property damage. Almost all these accidents were preventable and came down to someone’s negligence or recklessness.

Bridgeport’s infrastructure consists of major north/south roads that run basically parallel to one another. Main Street is the main arterial street in the city. Park Avenue extends from the Trumbull border to Seaside Park in the South End. Other major roads include Clinton Avenue, Brewster Street, Madison Avenue, and Central Avenue. Interstate 95 and Route 8/Route 25 meet in downtown Bridgeport. U.S. 1 also runs through Bridgeport, as well as several secondary state highways. Highways and urban streets account for more accidents in Bridgeport than rural roads.

2015 Car Crashes by Town Connecticut

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In 2015, Bridgeport is a town with the third most car crashes in Connecticut behind New Haven and Hartford. A total of 5,546 crashes according to Connecticut’s state official website. This just shows how impactful the damaged roadways, poor lighting, and perplexity of the infrastructures pose a threat to unsuspecting drivers in Bridgeport every day. All the top towns with the most car accidents are some of Connecticut’s most densely populated areas. Daily vehicle miles traveled to be higher in these areas because the state’s major highways also pass through them.