Last March, a 20 year-old premed student at Connecticut College was killed when the van she was riding in was struck by a vehicle going the wrong way near exit 79A on I-395. This week, her family hopes to resolve the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against the bar where the driver of that vehicle had been drinking.
According to reports, opening statements in the trial stemming from the fatal car accident. will begin this week in the Hartford Superior Court. The other four victims, three other student passengers and a driver, reached confidential settlements with the nightclub's insurer earlier last week. The driver has been locked up, serving a 75-month sentence for second-degree manslaughter.
While this blog regularly reports on accidents, rarely do the civil actions that occur later make many headlines. This story highlights why. Often times, liability in a car accident is clear. Accordingly, the liable driver's insurer is usually willing to step to the plate and discuss proper compensation. Even a third party that has been accused of liability, in this case a bar under Connecticut's dram shop act, will generally have an insurer that is willing to come to the negotiating table.
This process resulted in monetary settlements for four of the five victims. The final victim's family that has not settled will be taking their case before a Hartford jury. While trials are becoming more rare, the loss of a loved one is always hard to monetize. This prevents settlements and leads to lengthy litigation.
Local Hartford attorneys understand the difficulties in putting a price on such a tragedy. They have decades of experience handling wrongful death lawsuits and conducting negotiations. They can help the family comprehend the legal value of the claim and work towards avoiding litigation and settling the claim. At the same time, local attorneys recognize the value of life and aggressively advocate for the family's rights, which in this case means a civil trial.
Source: The Day, "Some settlements reached in fatal wrong way crash," Karin Florin, January 24, 2013