After four years of medical bills and legal wrangling, a Connecticut man will finally be receiving just over $1 million in a settlement stemming from an incident that occurred as the man and his friends were helping a disabled vehicle on Route 15 in Stratford. The accident left the man with 13 fractures and a degree of permanent disability due to injuries to his cervical spine and shoulder. The case highlights a number of important concerns regarding personal injury claims, including negligence and contributory fault, which ultimately played a role in arriving at a reasonable settlement.
How It Happened
In October 2011, the claimant, along with several friends, were traveling northbound on the Merritt Parkway when a vehicle in front of them ran out of gas. Along that particular stretch of the parkway, there is very little room along the shoulder, so the disabled vehicle was forced to stop partially in the right-hand travel lane. The man and his friends stopped to offer their assistance, helping to push the vehicle to a safer location. As the Good Samaritans attempted to get back into their own vehicle, still partially blocking the travel lane, the defendant’s vehicle slammed into their car, seriously injuring the claimant. The man suffered multiple fractures to his spine and ribs, along with numerous internal injuries.
A Variety of Factors
The injured man filed negligence claims against the driver who hit him, as well as the driver’s employer, as the car involved was a work vehicle. While the driver was not working at the time, the claimant sued for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. According to court records, the driver had been issued three prior traffic citations, including two tickets for speeding in the nine months before the accident.
There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol being involved, nor was the defendant using a cell phone. The defendant claimed that he did not see hazard or brake lights, and never saw the claimant’s stopped car until it was too late to avoid completely. The defense team also maintained that the injured man was negligent in stopping his car in the travel lane on a dark part of the highway.
While this particular case settled for just over $1 million right before the jury selection process began in New Haven Superior Court, it would have been interesting to see how Connecticut’s law regarding shared blame for the accident may have been applied. If the claimant in a personal injury case is found to be partially responsible for causing his or her own injuries, the recoverable damages will be reduced by the percentage of his or her responsibility. For example, if the total calculated damages in a case were found to be $2 million, but the plaintiff was found to be 25 percent at fault, he or she would be entitled to collect only $1.5 million. If the claimant is found to be 51 percent or more at fault, recovery is completely barred.
If you have been injured in any type of accident, it is important to fully understand your rights and available options under the law. Contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney and let our knowledgeable team assist you in building a case that can help get the compensation you deserve. Call [[phone1]] today to schedule your confidential consultation at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC.