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Representing the Seriously Injured

Saturday, March 29, 2014

School Not at Fault for Car Accident Blamed on Lack of Security Cameras

Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer - Hartford, Farmington, Waterbury
School Not at Fault
For Single Car Accident
Chen v. Hopkins School, Inc.,  AC 35164 (2014)

At 354 years old, the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut, is the 3rd oldest private high school in the country.  It’s motto is Quod Felix Faustumque Sit, which in Latin means, “May It Bring You Happiness And Good Fortune.”  For one of its students, November 6, 2008, brought not happiness but a personal injury in a car accident caused by her tire blowing out, and no good fortune came from the attempt by her lawyers to blame the school for the accident.

            Connie Chen had driven about 1/2 mile from the school when her tire blew and she had her accident. It appeared that the sidewall of her tire had been cut by a knife or other sharp object while her car was parked at the school parking lot. The lawyers whom she hired to represent her for the accident sued the school, claiming that the accident happened because the school did not “use surveillance technology as a disincentive to criminal activity and as an aid to apprehending offenders.”

            To prove her personal injury case, Ms. Chen’s lawyers hired an expert on security who said that the school was responsible for the accident because it should have had a security camera in the parking lot. When her lawyers told the court that they had no other evidence to prove that the school should be liable for the accident, the school’s lawyers asked the court to throw out the case, which the court did.

            Ms. Chen’s lawyers appealed to the Connecticut Appellant Court, which ruled that the trial court was right in dismissing her personal injury case. The Appellate Court stated that even if the expert’s opinion was believed,

it doesn’t help the court know whether this purported vandal or criminal who purportedly inserted some object into the tire would have known that there was a security camera there because there was nothing testified to about signage, whether a lack of knowledge would have deterred this activity from taking place, whether the camera would be monitored twenty-four hours a day, whether if someone saw this person doing what he or she did, it would have stopped what ultimately transpired. None of this is being offered by this expert, neither is there any statistical or empirical evidence presented by this gentleman to indicate that the ultimate incident would not have occurred because there were security cameras in the parking lot.
            Although the school was not found responsible for this personal injury case, perhaps it has now installed security cameras in the parking lots to help protect the students and staff.  Hopefully, Ms. Chen has recovered from the injuries she suffered in this accident.  And hopefully, from the education she obtained at this venerable Connecticut private school, happiness and good fortune come her way.

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