Facebook Pixel
logo

800-perkins

203-397-1283

Get to know the power of Perkins!

Avon Mountain Accident Lawsuits Against Connecticut Dismissed by Supreme Court

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently dismissed two lawsuits relating to a fiery 2005 crash which killed four people and injured 19. After reviewing the plaintiffs’ cases, the Court found that they could not meet the tests required by law to bypass the state of Connecticut’s sovereign immunity.

The Accidents

The lawsuits originated from a June 29, 2005 crash in which a dump truck lost control while driving down Avon Mountain. The truck’s brakes failed, and the driver slammed into a bus and 18 cars at the bottom of the mountain. The truck driver was among those killed in the collision.

The dump truck that caused the wreck was owned by a trucking company run by David Wilcox of Windsor, Connecticut. Wilcox was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter, assault and insurance fraud after authorities proved that he knew the dump truck had bad brakes and failed to fix them. He also attempted to fraudulently reinstate the lapsed insurance on his company’s trucks after the accident.

Legal Standards for Lawsuits Against the State

Victims and their families attempted to sue the state of Connecticut to recover damages for their injuries, on the basis that the state negligently failed to design a safe roadway which could have prevented the accident.

Usually, a state government cannot be sued negligence and has no liability for accidents under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The only time a state may be liable for damages is if a specific state law has revoked its immunity for a certain purpose.

One Connecticut statute which has revoked state sovereign immunity is known as the state highway liability statute. In order to be able to file claim against the state under this statute, a plaintiff must meet all four parts of the following test:

  • The highway is defective in and of itself;
  • The Commissioner of Transportation knew or should have known that the highway was defective;
  • The Commissioner of Transportation failed to remedy the defect; and
  • The road itself, and no other contributing factor, caused the accident.

The test above applies to the condition of the road, and not the design of the road. Sovereign immunity still protects the state from claims that the road was designed poorly. Only cases which show that the condition of the road was so bad as to be inherently dangerous for all vehicles may proceed past the first step of the test.

Avon Mountain Lawsuit

The Connecticut Supreme Court examined the Avon Mountain plaintiffs’ cases, and found that they could not pass the first part of this test.

The plaintiffs tried to show that the features of the road (located on a steep downgrade, lacking an emergency ramp) made the highway unreasonably dangerous for the driver. However, the test is not whether the road could have been safer, but that the road is unreasonably dangerous for all drivers at any time.

The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were attempted to sue for a poorly designed road, not a dangerous condition of the road, and were barred from maintaining their suit because of sovereign immunity. The Court disagreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that the lack of additional safety features made the road unreasonably dangerous for all travelers, and noted that, “Under the theory of liability the plaintiff advocates in the present case, virtually every design defect claim pertaining directly to the layout of the road would be actionable under the defective highway statute.”

The plaintiffs’ cases were therefore dismissed on account of sovereign immunity.

Even if the Supreme Court had found that the plaintiffs met the first part of the test, it is still likely that the plaintiffs would have lost their case. The fourth prong of the test requires that there be no contributing causes to an accident. Since the owner of the dump truck has already been found guilty of criminal negligence in failing to maintain the truck’s brakes, it does not seem likely that the plaintiffs could have passed this hurdle either.

Complicated Accidents Demand Experienced Attorneys

There are usually several people or entities which can be sued after an auto accident, including the driver, the driver’s insurance company, and any companies which own a vehicle or employ a driver. Just because this particular means of compensation is closed to the victims of this accident does not mean that no one was able to recover for their injuries.

After a complicated accident, you need experienced legal representation who can identify all of the people who may be liable for damage. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, our attorneys represent all types of accident victims, and understand the best way to make sure you are compensated for your injuries. If you were injured in an accident, call 1-800-PERKINS to speak with an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney about your case today.

DON’T TAKE IT FROM US, TAKE IT FROM OUR CLIENTS

  • “You guys were the best thank you again”

    - Bonnie Channey

  • “Thank you so much all the staff at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I personally want to say thank you to my case manager Carmen Baldwin, she is very thorough and...”

    - Katherine Vadnais

  • “This is the third Attorneys office I have gone to. They were the ONLY through group... My Attorney stood up for me in court and I was Happy that I...”

    - Candi Edwards

  • “I was with another lawyer and he was not getting the job done. No doctors for me to see. When I changed over to Perkins, I had a doctor within...”

    - Jan Vasquez

  • “Their hospitality is amazing from start to finish. I will always contact them when i need a service that they provide. This is my second time calling them in a...”

    - Crystal Moore

  • “Made a negative experience {auto accident} positive. Result was much better than I expected. No problems or hassle with insurance and always kept informed.”

    - Patrick M Taylor

  • “Beautiful new office located in downtown Waterbury. Call for information on free off street parking. If your injured, Get the Power of Perkins.”

    - Kevin Banahan

  • “One word.....RESULTS! I was in a very bad auto accident on the Merritt Pky April 3, 2016 (CT) that nearly took my life and sustained major painful injuries and had...”

    - Eve M.

  • “They made everything so easy! I never felt out of the loop and they always kept me informed as to how my case was moving along. Very pleased with their...”

    - Chy Archer

  • “Smartest and friendliest! They will fight for you!”

    - Nicole Ilana

  • “They are so helpful and always called me right back. They were very effective!”

    - Pamela Smith

  • “Was involved in a car accident 3 years ago. From start to finish Jonathan Perkins and firm were always there for us throughout the entire process. From check in calls...”

    - Gabriel

  • “Get the Power of Perkins when your injured.”

    - Kevin Banahan

  • “Great lawyers they did their job better that anyone soo recomended”

    - Nancy Arana

  • “Carmen always kept me posted on my case evwry two weeks she was an awesome case worker”

    - Tammy S.

  • “Very professional people... Always available for you if you have any questions; which was never for me because the office is very good with keeping you informed on what's going...”

    - Shemeka Council

  • “I cant say enough about this firm! Professional, organized and just an overall great experience! The entire team was very knowledgeable not only about the law and state requirements but...”

    - Tamara Rivera

  • “U did an awsome job i was able to buy my first home and im very happy”

    - Deborah

  • “I retained Johnathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to represent me on a Social Security Disability Claim; and, their team worked very diligently on my case. During the evaluation period there was...”

    - Marybeth Clifford

  • “I had a beautiful experience with Jonathan Perkins Law firm. Carmen was a very nice and efficient paralegal. She kept me in the loop and always showed concern with my...”

    - Les T.

  • “Friendly people. Was going through a hard time, but they continued working for what I needed no matter what.”

    - Christina Amon

  • “It was a wonderful experience being a client. The staff was friendly and informative. Definitely would recommend Jonathan Perkins to my friends.”

    - Inger Kierce

  • “I was extremely satisfied with Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. My overall experience was excellent. I recommend them.”

    - Mark G.

  • “Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers did a good job and I am very satisfied. The service was excellent and if the need arose I would hire them again.”

    - Luis N

  • “I want to congratulate Attorney Perkins for having a wonderful team working for his clients. Kevin Blake did a wonderful job with my workers’ compensation case. Shawn, my case manager,...”

    - Arthur Z

  • “Vivian was awesome. We have never been through this process before and she made it easy. Thank you.”

    - Elizabeth

  • “Thank you so much for advocating and fighting for my husband. Through all of your diligence, he was able to get justice. We are very grateful. God bless!”

    - S. Howard

  • “Excellent law firm. Morgan Alicea, my case manager, was truly excellent and very precise. So happy I listened to your advertisements and sought your help”

    - Helen

  • “Thank you Jonathan for coming in person to our home to meet us back in July 2014. It was appreciated and good to get to know you.”

    - Coralie

  • “Thank You!! Best decision I ever made! Was considering calling someone else but I’m so happy with your staff. I feel secure in knowing that my case is in good...”

    - Calvin

  • “I would like to thank the whole staff for being very concerned about my well-being. Thank you sincerely from the heart!”

    - Beverly

  • “My father was killed when his car was hit by a tractor trailer truck that was traveling too fast. We first retained a law firm that didn’t seem to be...”

    - Nelda

  • “I enjoyed being a customer of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I was updated every two weeks about my case and I found it extremely helpful to know what was going...”

    - Cora

  • “Both my sons were in a car accident. Of all the people that we talked to, we found that Jonathan was best for us”

    - Carl

  • “I slipped and fell in a store, crushing my left shoulder. I felt as though no one was listening until I called Jonathan Perkins”

    - Barbara

  • “My doctor made me believe that I was in better shape than I really was. This led to complications during the birth of my daughter. With Attorney Jonathan Perkins, I...”

    - Erika

  • “I fell down in a business premises and a metal plate landed on me, injuring me. I know that my case is being handled efficiently because I have an investigator,...”

    - Jeffre

  • “I enjoyed working with my case manager and my attorney. They went above and beyond — I can’t say enough about them. I would refer them to anybody, in fact...”

    - Charles

  • “The staff is caring and concerned and my experience with Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers has been pleasant”

    - Joan R

  • “Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers is very professional, courteous and personable, and they go the extra mile to assist their clients. When I walked in the door I spoke to a...”

    - Jackie

  • “Initially I called another firm and I was told that I didn’t have a case. I am very thankful that Jonathan Perkins Injury lawyers took my case and settled it....”

    - Paulette

  • “I enjoyed being a customer of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. I was updated every two weeks about my case and I found it extremely helpful to know what was going...”

    - Cora

  • “Excellent service and I will be in contact with you for future services”

    - Freddy Ramirez

  • “In the past I’ve had some pretty negative dealings with lawyers which had left me feeling that lawyers were all unscrupulous, taking advantage of their client’s stressful state. Jonathan Perkins...”

    - Rosina

  • “I like the way my case has been handled. They took care of my needs and questions. Thank you”

    - Georgianna Heslop

  • “Thank you all for helping me with my case.”

    - Madalyn Bernhardt

  • “Great representation. Good communication and detailed information about the case. Professional and knowledgeable representation”

    - Estephanie

  • “Very attentive to your case, works out every little detail, will not blow you off or ignore you, I was using a different lawyer prior, but switched and am SO...”

    - Amanda Bernardo

  • “I just want to say thank you for the help and direction that Atty Kevin Blake and cast worker Renita Lathrop. I have never been so pleased with the work...”

    - Amie Aquino

  • “Rent is was my paralegal and she really made my situation less of a stress factor in my life! The office was so helpful with explaining everything in away I...”

    - Ricardo Montanez

  • “My mother hurt her back at work and Jonathan Perkins helped keep her on her feet! Especially Renita who went the extra mile to make sure my mom had everything...”

    - Jasmine Riveria

  • “It was a Pleasure working with Our Case worker Renita. Very helpful and responsible!”

    - Ruth Noemi Rivera

  • “We were very happy with the care that was taken of a workman's comp case for my husband. W knew from the start that we did not have the knowledge...”

    - Maureen

  • “It has been my pleasure working with Shawn von brieson and attorney mcarthy, Shawn has always been extremely attentive to any and all of my phone calls e-mails etc. and...”

    - Bruce Vaughan

  • “Great law firm! They have been amazing. Shawn Von Briesen is personally one of the best case managers ever! This guy has definitely helped me out as well for the...”

    - Chris Rodriguez