As you are walking through a retail store parking lot in Hartford, Connecticut you slip and fall on an accumulation of ice and snow sustain several broken bones. You are seriously injured and are taken to the hospital. You life will never be the same again.
One of the many reasons why clients settle a case prior to the jury deliberated and rendering a verdict is due to the uncertainty of what a jury might decide. Before a jury determines what facts have been proven that the various parties and then applying the law to those facts they must be first "charged" by the trial court judge. Jury charges instruct the jurors on how to apply the law of the State of Connecticut to the facts they have found to exist. One of the charges a judge might give would address the issue of your duty to use your faculties and be:
Plaintiff's Duty to Use Faculties. The defendant has raised a special defense and claims that the plaintiff did not make a proper use of (his/her) senses or faculties to avoid the injury, did not keep a proper lookout, and was not watchful. Under our law, the plaintiff is presumed to be in the exercise of due care; and if the defendant makes a claim to the contrary, the burden is on the defendant to prove it. The defense is that the plaintiff failed to use due care to look out for (his/her) own safety. That means that the plaintiff was not acting as a reasonably prudent or careful person would have acted in view of the circumstances that you find existed at the time. If you find that the defendant has proved that the plaintiff was not using reasonable care to discover defects or dangerous conditions or to avoid such defects as (he/she) ought to have known about or ought to have been able to discover, then the defendant has proved the defense of contributory negligence and you must consider this negligence of the plaintiff in relation to that of the defendant
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