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3.4-2  Damages - Double or Treble

Revised to January 1, 2008

Note:  This would be added to the end of Damages - General, Instruction 3.4-1.

In any civil action to recover damages resulting from (personal injury / wrongful death / damages to property) as in this case the jury, as the trier of fact, may award double or treble (triple) damages if the plaintiff has proved that the defendant has:

1) deliberately or with reckless disregard, operated a motor vehicle in violation of statute <insert appropriate statute1 and describe elements, definitions, and specific facts where appropriate>, and

2) that the violation was a substantial factor in causing such (injury / death / damage to personal property).

You should understand that the phrase deliberately or with reckless disregard involves conduct that is more than negligence.  It is conduct that indicates a reckless disregard of the just rights or safety of others or of the consequences of the action.  It is conduct that tends to take on the aspect of highly unreasonable conduct, involving an extreme departure from ordinary care, in a situation where a high degree of danger is apparent.

If you find that has been proven, you are allowed to multiply any fair, just and reasonable damages that you award by either two or three.  You are not obliged to do so but you may do so.  That is solely within your discretion.
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1 General Statutes 14-218a (traveling unreasonably fast), 14-219 (speeding), 14-222 (reckless driving), 14-227a (driving under the influence), 14-230 (failure to drive in right-hand lane), 14-234 (no passing zones), 14-237 (driving on divided highways), 14-239 (one-way streets), or 14-240a (driving a reasonable distance apart).

Authority

General Statutes 14-295; Matthiessen v. Vanech, 266 Conn. 822, 827 n.6 (2003); Gionfriddo v. Avis Rent A Car Systems, Inc., 192 Conn. 280, 292 (1984); Manifold v. Ragaglia, 94 Conn. App. 103, 115-16 (2006).

Notes

Statutory multiple damages awarded pursuant to General Statutes 14-295, while serving a punitive purpose, are separate and distinct from common-law punitive damages and are awarded in addition thereto in appropriate cases.  Caulfield v. Amica Mutual Ins. Co., 31 Conn. App. 781, 786 n.3, cert. denied, 227 Conn. 913 (1993).

Section 14-295 requires the plaintiff to specifically plead that "another party has deliberately or with reckless disregard . . . ."   This charge will obviously only be given where that requirement has been met.
 


 

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