Motorcyclist Was Not Negligent and Did Not Contribute to Fatal Accident

Many people enjoy riding a motorcycle in scenic Connecticut. Unfortunately, an inattentive driver of an automobile or truck can turn a relaxing journey into a fatal motorcycle accident.

The Connecticut Superior Court case of Sablosky v. Ouellette provides a tragic example.

Inattentiveness leads to fatal accident

On a clear day, the victim was riding his motorcycle in his own lane on Route 32 in Willington. The defendant was driving a van and attempted to make a left turn across the victim's lane. A passenger in the van shouted a warning to the defendant driver, but it was too late.

The victim's wife brought a wrongful death action, arguing that the defendant negligently operated his van, and that the defendant's inattentiveness had caused the victim's death. Specifically, the victim's wife sought a "prejudgment remedy" under Connecticut law-a proceeding in which someone bringing a lawsuit can ask the court to attach or hold a defendant's assets, if there is probable cause that a judgment will be decided in favor of the plaintiff.

The defendant opposed the action, arguing that the victim contributed to the accident by also being negligent in operating his motorcycle and in failing to wear a helmet.

Was the victim at fault, too?

The Connecticut Superior Court held that there was scant evidence of any culpability on the part of the victim in the accident. The victim could legally assume that the defendant would operate his van in a reasonably safe manner, and was struck during the van's left-hand turn across the victim's lane.

The defendant also argued that the victim had contributed to his death by failing to wear a helmet. However, the court noted that Connecticut law at the time of the accident no longer obligated a motorcyclist to wear a helmet.

In addition, no evidence was offered that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the lack of a helmet was a substantial factor in actually causing the accident. There was no argument made that the victim would have been more visible if he had been wearing his helmet. There was also no allegation that a helmet would have improved his ability to operate the motorcycle due to road or weather conditions. While a helmet might have mitigated an injury, it did not contribute to the accident itself.

Thus, the wife's prejudgment remedy for the wrongful death was granted in the amount of $750,000 against the defendant.

Pursuing the compensation you deserve

If a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another, you have the right to bring a claim against all responsible parties. You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate the circumstances of the accident and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled for your tragic loss.