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Driver and his employer found liable in fatal 2008 accident

A wrongful death trial in a New Haven courtroom ended on Dec. 20 with a verdict of nearly $2.3 million against two defendants: the driver of a van that struck and killed a bicyclist in 2008 and the hotel he worked for. The jury in the trial found that the evidence showed the defendants were mostly to blame for the accident, which took the life of a 52-year-old man.

The fatal accident took place in September 2008. The victim was riding his bike in West Haven when he was struck by a van being driven by an employee of a local LaQuinta Inn and Suites. He suffered a severe brain injury and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, but died three days later. He was survived by his wife and their three children.

During the trial, attorneys for the victim's family showed that the van driver was driving 40 miles per hour on a street with a 25 mph speed limit. He also failed to yield to the victim or at least honk his horn to warn him of the van's approach. Attorneys also said he was distracted by a cellphone at the time of the collision.

In the end, jurors found that the driver and LQ Management, which owns the LaQuinta, to be a total of 58 responsible for the accident, divided equally between each defendant. The jury ordered them to pay about $2.29 million in damages to the victim's estate and to his widow. LQ Management was likely found to be partially liable because the driver was in the course of his work duties when the accident occurred.

Source: New Haven Register, "New Haven wrongful death lawsuit results in $2.3M verdict," Randall Beach, Dec. 22, 2012

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