Hall v. O'Connor
A court may reduce the amount of damages awarded for medical expenses and pain and suffering, because of a plaintiff's contributory negligence. In or about 2004, Surf Metal hired the plaintiff, Garland Hall, and he was responsible to load and to unload metal. In June 2008, a truck driver followed directions to back up a truck, and he stopped the truck when he heard a voice say, "Ow, ow, ow!" Allegedly, the truck had collided with Hall's thigh. Garland Hall fell onto a pile of metal bed frames and lost consciousness. An ambulance took 47-year-old Hall to Bridgeport Hospital, and he complained about pain in his back and shoulder. The plaintiff allegedly suffered back pain, sprains and strains, headaches, and dizziness. The plaintiff did not consult an orthopedic surgeon. After 14 days, the plaintiff returned to work and worked light duty. The plaintiff sued and alleged that the defendant driver was inattentive and failed to keep his motor vehicle under reasonable control. The plaintiff proved that the defendants were negligent. The plaintiff failed to prove that the defendants were reckless. The plaintiff also failed to prove that his discharge for lack of work in August 2012 was related to the June 2008 accident. The plaintiff's medical expenses were $8,793. The court awarded economic damages of $12,094 and non-economic damages, for pain and suffering, of $45,000, for a total of $57,094, which the court reduced 45 percent, as a result of the plaintiff's contributory negligence, to $31,402, because the plaintiff placed himself between the truck and the dumpster, outside the truck driver's field of vision, when he knew that the driver intended to back up, and he did not warn the truck driver about his position.