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If the Other Driver Was Traveling Unreasonably Fast, 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 driving unreasonably fast 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 was traveling unreasonably fast at the time of the collision or accident in violation of the Connecticut General Statutes § 14-218a 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 § 14-218a in order for us to make a claim for double or treble damages; if we can prove the other driver was PROBABLY traveling unreasonably fast 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 traveling unreasonably safe 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 § 14-218a, which prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle on Connecticut roads at speeds that are not safe:
"(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle [in Connecticut] ... at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable, having regard to the width, traffic and use of highway, road or parking area, the intersection of streets and weather conditions. The State Traffic Commission may determine speed limits which are reasonable and safe on any state highway, bridge or parkway built or maintained by the state, and differing limits may be established for different types of vehicles, and may erect or cause to be erected signs indicating such speed limits. The traffic authority of any town, city or borough may establish speed limits on streets, highways and bridges or in any parking area for ten cars or more or on any private road wholly within the municipality under its jurisdiction; ... Any speed in excess of such limits, other than speeding as provided for in section 14-219, shall be prima facie evidence that such speed is not reasonable, but the fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than such limits shall not relieve the operator from the duty to decrease speed when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
(b) The State Traffic Commission shall establish a speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour on any multiple lane, limited access highways that are suitable for a speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour, taking into consideration relevant factors including design, population of area and traffic flow.
(c) Any person who operates a motor vehicle at a greater rate of speed than is reasonable, other than speeding, as provided for in section 14-219, shall commit the infraction of traveling unreasonably fast."
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.