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If the Other Driver Drove Off the Road or Failed to Drive in the Correct Lane, Can I Recover Double or Treble Money Damages Under Connecticut Law?
Whatever the amount of your economic and non-economic damages, if the driver of the vehicle that caused the auto, truck, or motorcycle accident was drove off the road or failed to drive in the proper lane at the time of the accident, you might be able to recover double of treble damages pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-295, which provides as follows:
"In any civil action to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property, the [judge or jury] may award double or treble damages if the injured party has specifically pleaded that another party has deliberately or with reckless disregard operated a motor vehicle in violation of section 14-218a [traveling unreasonably fast], 14-219 [speeding], 14-222 [driving recklessly], 14-227a [driving drunk or under the influence of drugs], 14-230 [failing to drive in the right lane], 14-234 [passing in a no-passing zone], 14-237 [driving the wrong way on a divided highway], 14-239 [driving the wrong way on a one-way street] or 14-240a [driving too close], and that such violation was a substantial factor in causing such injury, death or damage to property. The owner of a rental or leased motor vehicle shall not be responsible for such damages unless the damages arose from such owner's operation of the motor vehicle."
So if the other driver drove off the road or failed to drive in the correct lane at the time of the collision or accident in violation of the Connecticut General Statutes § 14-230 and that violation was a substantial factor in causing your injuries, our Auto Accident Law Group would ask the Judge or Jury to double or triple the amount of economic and non-economic damages that you should be awarded as compensation for all the harms, injuries, and losses you have suffered or will suffer because of the other person's improper conduct.
Please note two things with regard to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-295. First, the other driver does NOT have to be given a ticket for violating § 14-230 in order for us to make a claim for double or treble damages; if we can prove the other driver was PROBABLY driving in the incorrect lane under the circumstances or drove off the road in violation of the law and that that violation was a substantial factor in causing injury, damage, or death, we can and will make the claim. Second, Connecticut law allows Judges or Juries to award double or treble damages to send this very important message: reckless or deliberate violations of the rules of the road in the form of driving off the road or in incorrect lanes is too dangerous and therefore will not be tolerated, thereby (hopefully) making our roads safer in the future for all of us.
Here is the relevant portion of the Connecticut General Statute § 14-230, which prohibits driving in other than the correct lane on Connecticut roads:
"(a) Upon all highways, each vehicle, other than a vehicle described in subsection (c) of this section, shall be driven upon the right, except (1) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (2) when overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of the highway, (3) when the right side of a highway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair, (4) on a highway divided into three or more marked lanes for traffic, or (5) on a highway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic shall be driven in the right-hand lane available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right- hand curb or edge of the highway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) Any vehicle which exceeds the maximum width limitations specified in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 14-262 and operates on an interstate highway with a special permit issued by the Commissioner of Transportation under the provisions of section 14-270, shall be driven in the extreme right lane of such highway, except (1) when such special permit authorizes operation in a traffic lane other than the extreme right lane, (2) when overtaking and passing parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of such highway, (3) when the right side of such highway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair, or (4) at such locations where access to or egress from such highway is provided on the left. ..."
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or loss caused by a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, please contact our Connecticut Auto Accident Law Group to arrange a free and confidential consultation.