Automobile Negligence

Reckless Driving

  • A person is driving recklessly when they make use of a public roadway displaying a “high degree of risk of physical harm to another and deliberately proceeds to act in conscious disregard of, or with indifference to, that risk.”
  • A person can drive recklessly when they display a dearth of caution in a situation where a reasonable person would have otherwise driven more carefully (work zones, school zones, etc…)
  • The operation of a motor vehicle upon any public highway at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour.

Speeding

  • The statue conveys that, no person shall operate a vehicle in a manner which could endanger other motor vehicle operators, or travel in a vehicle at a speed greater than fifty-five miles per hour.

Traveling Unreasonably Fast

  • Traveling unreasonably fast is when a a person takes into regard the width and traffic concentration of a highway and knowingly travels over the posted speed limit. Once over the posted speed limit, the defendant has lost all possibility of discourse.

Slow Speed

  • Traveling at a speed so low as to impede other drivers in safely traveling is to “traveling at a slow speed.”

Passing

  • The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the vehicle being overtaken at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
  • The driver of a vehicle that is being overtaken shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle. The driver of the vehicle that is being overtaken shall not increase the speed of this vehicle until (he/she) has been completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Left Turn

  • “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection shall yield the-right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection . or so close to such intersection. as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
  • The statute is violated if the driver fails to yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction and the approaching vehicle is either: 1) within the intersection; or 2)is so close to the intersection to constitute an immediate hazard.

Right of Way at Intersections

  • The statute sates, when approaching an intersection at approximately the same time as another vehicle, each driver shall yield to the driver on his/her right.
  • While approximating one’s time of arrival, it is pivotal to imagine there is no intersection at all. A judgement of arrival should be based on proximate distance from the other vehicle, in conjunction with the relative speed of the other traveler

Lights

  • Use lights at any time from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise; 2) at any time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions,
    persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of five hundred feet ahead; and 3) at any time during periods of precipitation, including, but not limited to, periods of rain, snow or fog.

Unsafe Tires

  • No person shall operate a motor vehicle or trailer upon the public highways unless such motor vehicle or trailer is equipped with tires in safe operating condition in the public highways unless such motor vehicle or trailer is equipped with tires in safe operating condition in equipped with tires in safe operating condition in accordance with requirements approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
  • In this case the plaintiff alleges that the defendant violated the standards established by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles with respect to tire wear or tire tread.

Uninsured/Under Insured Motorist

  • The purpose of such insurance is to provide compensation to the plaintiff for the damages that would have been recoverable if the uninsured / under insured motorist, had maintained an insurance policy to adequately cover the plaintiff’s losses from this collision.
  • You must determine if the plaintiff has proved that the other driver was negligent, whether any such negligence caused injury to the plaintiff, and if so, what amount of money will fully and fairly compensate the plaintiff.
  • If you determine that the plaintiff was injured as a result of the negligence of the other driver, and awarded damages from the defendant insurance company, the plaintiff will not receive compensation twice for the same injuries. Your task is to determine whether the plaintiff is entitled to an award of damages and, if so, in what amount. After you determine the full amount to which the plaintiff is entitled, I will make any necessary mathematical calculations after your verdict to adjust for any sums the plaintiff may already have received.]
  • *Case Reference- Fahey v. Safeco Insurance Company, 49 1111 Conn. App, 306, 314-15 (1998).

Right To Assume That Others Will Obey The Law

  • In determining what is reasonable care under all of the circumstances, the conduct of the should be judged from the viewpoint of the reasonably prudent person. A driver of an automobile is entitled to assume that other drivers will obey the law. The driver may thus assume that other drivers will obey all statutes governing the operation of motor vehicles in this state and that they will use the care that a reasonably prudent person would use in the same circumstances. The driver is allowed to make this assumption until (he/she) knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should know that the assumption has become unwarranted.

Lookout

  • The plaintiff claims that the defendant failed to keep a proper lookout. A driver of an automobile has a duty to use reasonable care to discover dangers or conditions to which (he/she) may be exposed as well as to avoid those driver of an automobile has a duty to use reasonable care to discover dangers or conditions to which (he/she) may be exposed as well as to avoid those or conditions to which (he/she) may be exposed as well as to avoid those dangers and conditions that are actually known to (him/her). A driver is required to keep a reasonable lookout for any persons and traffic (he/she) is likely to encounter. (He/She) is chargeable with notice of dangers or likely to encounter. (He/She) is chargeable with notice of dangers or conditions of which (he/she) could become aware through a reasonable exercise of (his/her) faculties.

Sudden Emergency

  • The existence of a sudden emergency is a factor to be considered in the evaluation of whether the defendant acted as a reasonable person under the circumstances. An individual, choosing a course of action in an emergency, is required to exercise the care of an ordinarily prudent person acting in such an emergency.
  • You are to consider the evidence in this case to determine whether an emergency situation existed. If you find that an emergency existed which was not caused by the conduct of the defendant and that, as a result of the emergency, the defendant chose a course of action which a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances, then the defendant’s conduct would not be negligent.

Family Car Doctrine

  • In Connecticut, we have a statute called the family car doctrine, which makes the owner of a car driven by the owner’s (spouse/parent/child) liable to the same extent as the driver unless the owner proves that the driver was not authorized to drive the vehicle. In this case, the defendant presented evidence through which (he/she) attempted to prove the driver was not authorized to drive the vehicle at the time of the accident. It is up to you to determine whether the evidence presented was sufficient to do so. If it was, then the defendant cannot be held liable. If it was not, then you must find the defendant liable to the same extent as the driver.

Presumption Of Agency

  • When the driver a motor vehicle is not the owner of the vehicle, the drive is presumed to be the agent and servant of the owner of a car driven by the owner’s agent liable to the same extent as the driver unless the owner proves that the driver was not authorized to drive the vehicle or was not driving the vehicle in the course of (his/her) employment.