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Law School Case Brief

Lange v. Hoyt - 114 Conn. 590, 159 A. 575 (1932)


One who has been injured by the negligence of another must use reasonable care to promote recovery and prevent any aggravation or increase of the injuries. The requirement of this rule is met when the plaintiff does what a reasonably prudent person would be expected to do under the same circumstances. 


Plaintiff M.L., a minor, was struck by a car driven by defendant Bessie M. Hoyt. The accident occurred just after M.L. exited her school bus and attempted to cross the street directly to her home. M.L. suffered a fractured arm and a fracture and dislocation of the pelvis. M.L., and her mother, plaintiff Minette B. Lange, filed separate lawsuits against Hoyt in Connecticut superior court seeking to recover damages for M.L.'s injuries and to recover for costs and expenses associated with the injuries. A jury rendered verdicts for plaintiffs; Hoyt's motions to set aside the verdicts were denied. Hoyt appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the condition of M.L.'s arm and pelvis was aggravated by lack of proper medical treatment after the accident, and the superior court erred in its instructions to the jury regarding an injured party's duty to exercise ordinary care to cure and restore herself.


Did the trial court err when it refused to charge the jury in some particulars as requested by Hoyt?




The state supreme court of errors found no error in the trial court's judgment. The court ruled that, upon the facts of the case, it was clearly a question to be decided by the jury whether or not Hoyt was negligent in the operation of her automobile, and whether M.L., considering her age, experience and judgment, was free from contributory negligence. Upon the evidence presented, the decision of these questions was for the jury. The trial court did not err in refusing to set aside the verdict. The court then held that the jury charge as delivered by the trial court covered the substance of Hoyt's requests. That fact that the exact language of Hoyt's requests, some of which were taken verbatim from reported cases and text-book writers, was not employed by the trial court, afforded Hoyt no ground of complaint. The trial court was not required to use the exact language to charge.

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