The Metropolitan District Commission owns property in the Talcott Mountain Recreation Area in West Hartford. Part of that property is utilized as a biking trail. In 2002, the MDC was operating under a policy that required all gates on its property be shut. The policy was well-intentioned as it was in response to security concerns in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
Unfortunately, the policy also caused catastrophic injuries to a female biker. The woman was riding her bike through the area when the she crashed into one of the closed gates. She broke her neck and brought a premises liability lawsuit against the MDC. In 2010, a Hartford Superior Court granted her a $2.9 Million judgment.
The MDC appealed the ruling arguing that it should receive sovereign immunity as a quasi-governmental entity. The Connecticut Supreme Court denied their plea and confirmed the large judgment entered against them. The size of the judgment was compensation for the serious spinal injuries the woman sustained because of the dangerous property condition. Though seemingly extraordinary, the Supreme Court upheld a similar damages total, $2.75 Million, in another ruling published the same week.
Such large judgments, though not an everyday occurrence, are justified in cases where victims sustain serious injuries. Only those that sustain life altering injuries in an unfortunate accident can attest to the life changes it causes. Medical bills and lost earning ability are only the beginning. Pain and suffering and the loss of recreational ability are also factors that weigh into the amount of damages. Getting a jury and court to endorse large damages, however, is not easy.
As a result, victims injured by a dangerous property condition are encouraged to contact one of Hartford's experienced personal injury attorneys. These professionals know how to advocate for victims and secure awards that adequately compensate them for all that was lost.
Source: Hartford Courant, "Supreme Court Upholds $2.9 Million Award in Bike Injury Case," Christine Dempsey, July 5, 2013