Losing a loved one in any type of an accident is certainly heartbreaking. When a family member is killed as the result of negligence by another person or entity, the situation is often even more tragic. While nothing can truly make up for the grief and pain experienced by the victim’s spouse, children, and other relatives, depending on the circumstances, they may be able to seek compensation for their loved one’s death from the responsible party or parties. As a recent ruling by a New Haven Superior Court shows, in some cases, a wrongful death award can be quite substantial.
A Preventable Accident?
The wrongful death action was filed in New Haven in 2014 following a fatal accident in East Haven two years earlier. In July of 2012, a 51-year-old man was riding his bicycle on Coe Avenue when he was struck from behind by a van driven by a 52-year-old Milford woman. The van was owned by a Guilford-based outreach organization for children and adults with special needs, and the driver was transporting two clients of the non-profit group.
According to court documents, the woman became distracted, and the van crossed the white fog line painted along the right side of the road, hitting the man on his bicycle and crashing into a telephone pole. The man suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital soon after the accident.
The driver was charged with negligent homicide but pleaded to lesser charges in 2013. The man’s wife filed a wrongful death claim a year later against both the driver of the van and the non-profit. Lawyers for the decedent’s family said that “despite overwhelming evidence of fault,” the other side refused to compensate the family appropriately, and litigation became necessary. After a five-day trial and three and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of more than $6.4 million in favor of the victim’s family, with responsibility for the amount to be shared equally by the defendants.
Negligence Per Se
The complaint filed by the victim’s family stated that the driver was driving above the speed limit at the time of the accident and was also sleepy, distracted, or both. In addition, she also pleaded guilty to certain criminal charges in connection with the fatal crash. When laws are broken and someone is injured as a result, it automatically creates the presumption of negligence on the part of the offender. This principle is known as negligence per se, and while rebutting the presumption of negligence is possible, doing so can be very difficult.
Seek Help With Your Case
If you have lost a family member due to another party’s actions or negligence, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate. Contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney to discuss your options. Nothing can bring your loved one back, but we can help you seek the compensation you need to carry on with your life. Call [[phone1]] for a free consultation today.