MAIGA ABDUL v. ANDREW BARRA.

2004 Ct. Sup. 17369
No. CV-02-0518261-SConnecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of New Britain at New Britain
November 10, 2004

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
BURKE, JUDGE.

This is a civil action brought by a plaintiff seeking money damages for personal injuries and property damage resulting from an automobile accident.

On May 16, 2002, at approximately 1:05 p.m., the plaintiff, Maiga Abdul (“plaintiff”) was operating a car and traveling in a northerly direction on New Park Avenue in the City of Hartford. At the same time, the defendant, Andrew Barra (“defendant”), was either attempting to enter the same road to go in the same direction or, as alleged by the plaintiff, was commencing a “u-turn.” In any event, the cars collided with great force.

The plaintiff has alleged that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his automobile in various respects including: attempting to make an unsafe lane change in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-236(1); operating at an unreasonable rate of speed in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-218(a); moving on a highway when such movement could not be made with reasonable safety in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-242(a); operating his vehicle recklessly, and/or violating due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-222; failing to keep his vehicle under proper and reasonable control; failing to keep a proper and reasonable lookout for other vehicles; failing to apply his brakes; failing to turn his vehicle to avoid the accident; failing to sound his horn or flash his lights to warn the plaintiff of the impending collision and otherwise failed to exercise due care in operating the vehicle.

The defendant has denied the material allegations with respect to his alleged negligence and has alleged by way of a special defense that the plaintiff was negligent in the operation of his automobile in various respects including: failing to keep his vehicle under proper and reasonable control; failing to keep a proper and reasonable lookout for other vehicles; failing to apply his brakes; failing to turn his vehicle to avoid the accident; operating at an unreasonable rate of speed in CT Page 17370 violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-218(a); attempting to make an unsafe lane change in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-236(1); and moving on a highway when such movement could not be made with reasonable safety in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-242(a).

The court heard the matter on June 24, 2004 and July 14, 2004. During the trial, the plaintiff, the defendant and a police officer testified. Several photographs of the accident location and vehicles and medical reports and bills were introduced.

The following facts are found: The plaintiff’s car was traveling at a such high rate of speed that after his vehicle struck the defendant’s vehicle causing damage to the left front of the defendant’s vehicle, the plaintiff’s vehicle continued its momentum and collided with a parked vehicle. The parked vehicle was hit with such force that it was pushed into a nearby light pole and lifted off the ground to such an extent that the vehicle’s roof came into contact with the light pole.

The plaintiff’s vehicle continued its momentum over a curb and across a grassy area into a parking lot. The vehicle changed directions and did not stop until after traveling several hundred feet.

Much of the testimony concerned a police report that was amended twice following accusations of bias by the plaintiff against the police officer who wrote the accident report. The police officer testified that he was pressured to change the report on two occasions.

That police report included a reference to a witness who said the plaintiff was speeding. However, the plaintiff also accused the witness of being biased. There were inaccuracies in the witnesses deposition concerning the descriptions of the vehicles.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the physical evidence of the accident makes it clear that the plaintiff was traveling at an excessive rate of speed. He was negligent in that he failed to keep his vehicle under proper and reasonable control; failed to keep a proper and reasonable lookout for other vehicles; failed to apply his brakes; failing to turn his vehicle to avoid the accident; and operated his vehicle at an unreasonable rate of speed in violation of due care and in violation of C.G.S. Sec. 14-218(a).

The next question is whether the defendant was negligent when he entered into the traveling lane. He testified that he looked for oncoming traffic and commenced to enter the lane in order to move forward. The plaintiff claims that the defendant intended to make a u-turn. In any CT Page 17371 event, the defendant did not see the plaintiff’s vehicle. Under the circumstances, the court finds that the defendant was negligent in that he should have continued to check for vehicles as he was entering the travel lane. Therefore, he was negligent in attempting to make an unsafe lane change in violation of due care and C.G.S. Sec. 14-236(1); failing to keep a proper and reasonable lookout for other vehicles; failing to apply his brakes; and otherwise failed to exercise due care in operating the vehicle.

Since it is evident that the plaintiff was traveling at such a high rate of speed that his negligence was greater than the defendant’s negligence. The court determines that the plaintiff’s percentage of negligence is 75% and the defendant’s percentage of negligence is 25%. Therefore, under Connecticut’s comparative negligence statute, since the plaintiff was more negligent than the defendant, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages from the defendant. Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 52-572h(b).

Accordingly, judgment for the defendant is hereby ordered.

BURKE, J. CT Page 17372