A youth and her parents will get another chance to secure a favorable finding in their personal injury lawsuit, stemming from an Independence Day pedestrian accident back in 2005. The girl had been crossing a street (she claims in a crosswalk) from in front of a stopped bus when she was struck by defendant’s sport utility vehicle, causing severe injuries.
After a jury decided the case, Samson v. Nahulu, in defendant’s favor, plaintiff’s appealed. The appeals court affirmed jury’s verdict, but the Hawaii Supreme Court vacated, remanding for either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding verdict. Justices ruled the trial court erred in exclusion of certain evidence (including speed of defendant vehicle and evidence of crosswalk markings), jury instructions that were prejudicial and doling out jury instructions that focused more on the pedestrian’s obligation to obey all traffic laws rather than the driver’s duty to avoid collisions.
There was much conflicting testimony in this case from a number of witnesses regarding key facts, including whether the minor was in the crosswalk, how fast defendant was traveling, whether pedestrian used due caution in looking both ways. But the court wrongly decided a number of motions and requests in a way that prejudiced the plaintiff. Continue reading