Pierre v. Bourham
A court can award damages for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering and reduce the damages 50 percent as a result of the plaintiff's contributory negligence. Allegedly, the 49-year-old plaintiff, Jean Pierre, was walking across Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk at approximately 10 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2008 and mistakenly believed that the traffic light was red. The defendant taxi driver, who had a green light, failed to see Pierre and was unaware that he collided with Pierre until he felt a bump and stopped. Pierre broke his left leg, required surgery, and was unable to work about seven months. His medical expenses were $56,593, and he was rated with a 9 percent permanent partial disability of the left lower extremity. Pierre sued, alleging that the defendant taxi driver violated Connecticut General Statutes §14-300(c), because he failed to yield the right of way to an individual in an unmarked crosswalk. The court found that there was no crosswalk at the place that Pierre was walking across the street. Pierre did not prove that the defendant violated C.G.S. §14-300(c). The court found that Pierre was 50 percent negligent, because he crossed the street at night, wearing dark clothes, and failed to look for traffic. Pierre placed unreasonable reliance on his observation that the traffic light was red without considering that the traffic light was green for traffic that exited Interstate 95. Pierre proved that the taxi driver was 50 percent negligent, because he was talking to his passenger and failed to keep a proper lookout, to apply the brakes or to swerve. The weather was clear, the road was straight and wide, and there was no evidence of other traffic. Pierre did not prove that the taxi driver was reckless or operated at an unreasonable rate of speed. The court awarded the plaintiff $56,593 for medical expenses, $19,500 for loss of wages and $200,000 for pain and suffering and reduced the award 50 percent to $138,546, because the plaintiff was negligent.