NEW HAVEN, CT — The family of Jose Mauricio Campos Thursday won a jury verdict of nearly $2.3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against a hotel corporation and its employee, the driver of a van that struck Campos. Mr. Campos was riding his bike around 7:00 pm on 9-15-08 when hit by the hotel van driven by a Mr. Coleman.
Coleman was a defendant in the civil suit, along with his employer, LaQuinta Inn and Suites. The driver and the employer-hotel were found to be equally liable.
Campos, who was NOT wearing a helmet, was thrown to the pavement by the impact and suffered a serious head injury. He died three days later. The plaintiff was his wife, Gregoria Campos of West Haven. The Camposes had three sons, now adults.
The six jurors announced their verdict just after noon in New Haven Superior Court in a trial presided over by Judge Terence Zemetis.
The driver was traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. In addition, it was alleged in the complaint that the defendant driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident, in violation of CT state law. While not illegal in NC, yet, Sanders Law Firm includes claims for gross negligence when a defendant driver is using a cell phone at the time of the accident. This is because the driver is distracted while serving their own self interest.
Mr. Campos, the bicyclist, may or may not have run a stop sign, it was not known for sure.
The jurors ruled both Coleman and Campos were at fault in the accident. But the jurors said Coleman, and thus LaQuinta as well, were responsible for 58 percent of the negligence and Campos was responsible for 42 percent. Connecticut is a comparative negligence state whereas NC is a contributory negligence state. That means if the jurors in a NC trial find the plaintiff bicyclist was also negligent in his death or injuries, the court would not award the injured plaintiff any monies for death or injuries. NC is one of a handful of states that still has contributory negligence as the rule.
Mills said after the verdict that Campos was found to share some of the negligence probably because “no one can say for sure” if he obeyed a stop sign. According to Mills, Coleman did not have a stop sign.
The jurors awarded $1,709,840 in damages to the victim’s estate and $580,000 in damages to the widow.
The complaint noted the widow had incurred medical and funeral expenses, loss of wages and permanent loss of his earning capacity. The plaintiff’s attorneys also said she suffered loss of her husband’s moral support and companionship.
If you or someone you know was injured while biking, contact the attorneys at Sanders Law Firm, PLLC 336-724-4707