The family of a man killed in a bicycle accident was recently awarded $2.3 million by a Connecticut jury in a lawsuit against a hotel and its employee. The victim was killed when he was struck by a hotel van while riding a bicycle in West Haven.
The Facts of the Accident
The 52-year-old victim was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and was thrown to the sidewalk by the impact with the van. He was immediately transported to a local hospital and emergency surgery was performed, but he died from his injuries about three days after the crash.
The wrongful death suit was filed by the surviving wife on behalf of herself and her three adult sons against LaQuinta Inn and Suites and the driver of the van. The driver and the corporation were found to be liable in equal amounts for the accident. Six jurors found that both the victim and the driver were at fault, but that the driver and corporation were liable for 58 percent of the accident.
Negligence and Liability Issues
The victim’s negligence was based on the fact that no one could determine if the driver had violated a stop sign rule by moving into the road improperly. Two witnesses testified that the driver was traveling about 40 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. The lawsuit alleged that the driver violated the victim’s right-of-way by failing to yield and also failed to sound a horn to warn the victim of his approach. The lawsuit also alleged the driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident, although the driver denied this allegation.
Division of the Verdict
The verdict awarded $1.7 million to the victim’s estate, which will be divided between the surviving widow and sons. The jury also awarded nearly $600,000 individually to the widow in damages for medical and funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship of her husband.
Is This A Typical Wrongful Death Accident Verdict?
Although this case took place in Connecticut, it does mirror some typical features of Sacramento wrongful death lawsuits. Most wrongful death suits claim loss of companionship of the loved one as well as medical, funeral, and other expenses. Most wrongful death claims also include a projected loss of income that would have been earned if the victim had lived.
The feature of comparative liability in this case is also a good illustration of what happens when a victim is deemed to have been partially responsible for his or her own injuries. In California, comparative liability rules allow a jury to make a partial award to a victim, even if the victim is shown to have had personal negligence in causing an accident.
A Sacramento personal injury attorney can advise the survivors of a victim on their rights to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.