Facts of the Distracted Driving Epidemic:
- 9 people in the U.S. are killed each day as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Each day, 11 teens die as a result of texting and driving.
- Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol is.
- Cell phone use is the second largest cause of distracted driving. 14% of distracted driving related deaths comes from cell phone use (as of 2015).
- Over 80% of drivers admit to blatantly hazardous behavior while driving, such as changing clothes, steering with a foot, painting nails, or even shaving.
Distracted Driving Laws in the State of Connecticut
Handheld Devices: No motorist may use a handheld mobile device regardless of whether said motorist is stopped at a traffic light. In the case of an emergency, there is an exception to this law should one need to contact emergency personnel.
Texting and Driving: Under Connecticut law, no operator may engage in texting while driving. This includes reading, writing and/or responding to such text messages.
Novice Driver: Unlike adult motor vehicle operators, drivers under the age of 18 are not permitted to use a hands-free component to talk on the phone.
Distracted Driving Penalties in the State of Connecticut
First or Second Time Offenders: $150 or $300 fine
Third Time Offenders: $500 fine
Fatalities: One may face charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, misconduct with a motor vehicle, or second-degree manslaughter. Penalties may include fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and jail time ranging from 6 months to 10 years.
Where Are The Most Distracted Drivers In New Haven, CT? Travelers Survey Pinpoints Dangerous Roads
On September 25, 2018, the Hartford Courant published this article. The Travelers Institute and UConn commissioned a survey of 500 Connecticut residents and gathered the following research:
How dangerous is your city?
Distracted Driving Crashes by City:
- New Haven: 1,392 crashes
- Hartford: 1,055 crashes
- Bridgeport: 899 crashes
- Waterbury: 821 crashes
- Meriden: 642 crashes
How dangerous are your roads?
The most crashes occurred on:
- I-95 North and South - along the eastern shoreline
- I-84 East and West - Hartford & Waterbury
- I-91 North - at the 691 interchange in Meriden
- Route 1 South - along the entire southern coast
- Route 9 North - Middletown
- Route 2 West - between Norwich and North Stonington
Source: Hartford Courant
BWP is a proud sponsor of End Distracted Driving and The Casey Feldman Foundation
Casey Feldman (April 4, 1988-July 17, 2009)
EndDD’s mission: to save lives from distracted driving through advocacy, education and action
EndDD.org is a project of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, which was founded in 2009 by Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson. Twenty-one year- old Casey Feldman was struck and killed by a distracted driver while crossing a street in the crosswalk.
Attorney John F. Buckley pictured giving an End Distracted Driving presentation at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Connecticut.
Contact BWP Today - We Are Your New Haven, CT Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
If you, a family member or friend have suffered an injury or death in an accident due to another person’s distracted driving in New Haven, CT, call us today at 1-800-445-2278.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Your legal fees are paid on a contingency fee basis unless otherwise specified. That means that we are not paid unless we recover compensation for you.
Once it is safe to do so, you should attempt to document the entire situation by taking photographs and careful notes. Having notes to remind you of all the details of what happened, and what you went through, is far easier and far more accurate than relying on your memory.
Write things down as soon as you can: begin with what you were doing and where you were going, the people you were with, the time and the weather. Include every detail of what you saw, heard and felt. Be sure to add anything you remember hearing anyone — a person involved in the accident or a witness — say about the accident.
Finally, make daily notes of the effects of your injuries. You may suffer pain, discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep or other problems you are experiencing. These notes can be very useful two or six or ten months later, when you put together all the important facts into a final demand for compensation.
*For more information on your rights and responsibilities after an accident, see: Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.
Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must follow.
Sometimes a violation of one of these traffic rules is obvious and was clearly the cause of an accident — for example, when one driver runs a stop sign and crashes into another. In other situations, whether or not there was a violation will be less obvious. A common example is a crash that occurs when drivers merge into a single lane of traffic.
Sometimes, the ultimate determination of who should be responsible is left up to the fact finder or jury.
The law in Connecticut requires that you initially pay for your medical treatment. It is a common misconception that the at-fault driver will pay for your medical treatment. This often leads to frustration. We will do everything we can to help you manage your options, but please note: we are not allowed by law to pay your medical bills. If you had medical treatment (e.g. ambulance, hospital evaluation) and have no insurance or ability to pay for that treatment, the provider may send the bill to collection. While we may send letters to medical providers offering to protect their bills, many providers will not agree to such an arrangement (see discussion below). Unfortunately, we cannot stop a collection action or pay your bills. If you are receiving collection letters or outstanding bills, please contact us to discuss your options in more detail.
There are essentially five ways for your medical bills to be paid and there often is priority under the law. Therefore, be sure we are aware of any and all of the following:
If you were on the job at the time of the incident.
Medical payments (“Med Pay”) coverage on your auto policy
If you have Med Pay coverage on your auto policy, or you were a passenger in a car that had Med Pay coverage, you should use this coverage to pay your bills, even if you have health insurance. Med Pay will pay up to its limits, after which point your bills should be paid through one of the three remaining sources.
Health Insurance & Medicare/Medicaid
Generally, your health insurance will not cover your accident related bills unless and until you can prove that you do not have Med Pay. We will help you secure a “No Med Pay Letter” when appropriate.
Letter of Protection
Under certain circumstances, when someone else caused an accident, and you do not have Med Pay or health insurance, some doctors will accept a Letter of Protection from our office. This obligates our office to reimburse your doctor from the proceeds of your lawsuit settlement or judgment. Because payment is not guaranteed and will be delayed until the resolution of the case, many doctors will not agree to do this.
The final way to pay your medical bills is out-of-pocket. Please be sure to keep track of everything you have paid. All reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket losses should be recorded and provided to us.
Ideally, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay for repairing your vehicle. Sometimes, liability is not accepted, however, and it is easier and quicker to pursue a damage claim under your own insurance coverage.
Yes. In Connecticut, you are entitled to Loss of Use, which includes either a rental vehicle or the value of a comparable rental vehicle. For more on your rights, see Motor Vehicle Rights and Responsibilities.
You can pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM” or “UIM”) claim under your own auto insurance policy. This insurance coverage applies if you have been hit by an uninsured driver or where the coverage of the at-fault driver is insufficient to pay for your damages. “UM” and “UIM” coverage is mandated by law. You should consult with an attorney before filing a claim.
The accident was my fault-
When you caused the accident, you are responsible for repairing your own vehicle and the other vehicle that you damaged. Assuming you are insured, your company will pay for the damages to the other vehicle up to your policy limits. If you have “collision coverage” under your policy, you will also be covered for repairs to your vehicle up to the amount of your coverage. You will likely have a deductible of $500 or $1,000. You should not have to pay more than your deductible if you have full collision coverage. When you caused the accident, your right to a rental car is subject to the terms of your insurance policy. If you purchased rental reimbursement coverage, you will be covered for a rental car. Most insurers can set up direct billing with the rental car company. Check with your insurance company or insurance agent regarding your coverage.
The accident was not my fault-
If someone else caused the accident, that person’s insurance company (if the other person is insured) should pay for the cost of repairs. You should not have to pay for anything. You are entitled to take the vehicle to a repair shop of your choice for repairs. If you were injured, you should consult with an attorney before communicating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company about repairs. If the other person was not insured but was at fault, you should use your own insurance. Your company will later undertake efforts to get its money back through a process known as subrogation.
The insurance company is required to use at least the average of the retail values according to the NADA Used Car Guide (www.nadaguides.com) and one other automobile industry source approved by the Insurance Commissioner. The insurance company must give you a copy of the information relied upon in determining the value of your car. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to underestimate the value of your car or the damages sustained to a repairable car. Don’t hesitate to get an explanation for the method used to calculate the value of your vehicle. If you continue to have any concerns, contact an attorney.
When the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds its value, or, depending on your policy, the repair cost will exceed 80% of your vehicle’s value, your vehicle will be deemed a “Total Loss”. Insurance companies have the authority to declare a vehicle a “total loss”, but they are subject to regulation by the Insurance Department. Under Connecticut law, a vehicle may be declared a “constructive total loss” when the cost to repair or salvage the damaged property, or the cost to both repair and salvage such property, equals or exceeds the total value of the property at the time of loss. In such a case, the car will be deemed a total loss.
No. When the vehicle is done, make sure that a licensed repairer tells you that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
“OEM” parts are new parts made by the original manufacturer of your vehicle. “Aftermarket” parts are new parts that are not manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer. “Recycled” parts, sometimes referred to as salvage, reconditioned or used parts, are frequently obtained from auto recyclers or junkyards and can be either OEM or non-OEM parts. “Recycled” or “Non-OEM” parts may be used for repair work, but you should be notified of that fact in the repair estimate. Independent repairers often argue against the use of certain recycled and aftermarket parts on the grounds that they are not as dependable or safe as OEM parts. Make sure to talk to your repairer about whether recycled or aftermarket parts are being used and how they could affect the safety of your repair.
General Car Accident FAQs
If someone else was at fault, you are also entitled to compensation for the loss of use of your property. That means either: The use of a comparable rental vehicle (i.e. a full-size truck if you were driving a full-size truck); or Reasonable compensation for the loss of the use of your vehicle if you do not get a rental. Generally, “reasonable compensation” means the amount you would have had to spend on a rental car for the period of time necessary to settle your claim or repair your vehicle.
Tip: Insurance companies are generally eager to cut claim costs whenever possible. This is why you may be pressured to take your car to the insurance company's direct repair shop. Don’t let the insurance company steer you away from an independent repair shop.
After your insurance company pays for your repairs, it will likely seek reimbursement through a process known as “subrogation”. In a subrogation claim, the insurance company essentially steps into your shoes and brings a claim against the other driver in an effort to get its money back. If successful, your insurance company will be reimbursed and you should also be reimbursed for your deductible. In some accidents, fault is uncertain. In other words, both parties may share in the responsibility. Thus, it may be found that one party is 80% responsible and the other is 20% responsible. If this happens, damages will be apportioned accordingly. If you paid for your own damages and rental car because you had no collision coverage, you may wish to bring a claim against the at fault party for reimbursement. For more information on this process, consult with an attorney.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding premium calculations. In general, if you cause your insurance company to make payment on your behalf because of an accident you were responsible for causing, there is a chance your rates will go up. If, on the other hand, your insurance company has to pay you on your policy because of the other party’s negligence (i.e. Med-Pay claim or UM/UIM), your rates will not likely go up. For specific guidance regarding your policy, contact your insurance agent or representative.
As soon as practical, you should call your insurance company and report the accident. You should do this regardless of who was at fault. An agent will likely ask you about what happened, damages to the vehicles and personal injuries. As part of your insurance contract, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. If you do not cooperate with the reasonable demands of your insurance company, you risk denial of coverage. You have no duty or obligation, however, to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. The other party’s insurance agent may ask you to give a recorded statement. You should not agree to do this without first speaking to an attorney.
Blogs Related to Distracted Driving Accidents
Giving Back: New Haven County Bar Association Spotlights John Parese
Posted on Feb 20, 2021
Attorney John Parese of New Haven-based Buckley Wynne & Parese has recently agreed to chair NHCBA's Member Benefits Committee. Originally joining the association in 2001, Parese has served the NHCBA faithfully for two decades.
2020 SCRS Repairer Driven Education at SEMA to Feature Attorney John Parese of Buckley Wynne & Parese
Posted on Oct 26, 2020
Parese, considered a leading voice in the collision repair industry, will discuss field-tested techniques utilized to fight illegal and unethical insurer practices, including demand letters, administrative complaints, and lawsuits. He will guide attendees through a review prerequisites for engaging in litigation, and best practices to facilitate a more profitable and transparent business.
Jury Trials Expected to Resume this November
Posted on Sep 17, 2020
The pandemic has had overwhelming impact and the Connecticut Judicial Branch was certainly no exception. John Adams once wrote, “Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.” As a personal injury firm that represents the victims of tragic injury and loss, we look forward to the resumption of jury trials.