Attorney Henry Wins $3.559 Million Judgment in Hit-and-Run Death

Cramer & Anderson injury law Partner Ryan Henry secured a $3,559,819.78 judgment in December on behalf of the estate and family of a beloved Waterbury man who was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Route 69 in April 2019 and died as a result of his injuries.Cramer & Anderson injury law Partner Ryan Henry secured a $3,559,819.78 judgment in December on behalf of the estate and family of a beloved Waterbury man who was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Route 69 in April 2019 and died as a result of his injuries.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the administratrix of the estate against Martin Hamer, who was also charged with – and pleaded guilty to – charges of manslaughter in the second degree and evading responsibility causing the death of another.

A trial on an October 2023 amended complaint took place Nov. 1, 2023, in Waterbury Superior Court and Judge Robert D’Andrea issued his decision Dec. 15.

The decision ordered economic damages of just $79,759.10 based on medical bills and future lost earnings. However, the judge awarded non-economic damages at $2 million, writing that victim “had a zest for life, bringing love, joy and companionship to his family and all the people he touched over the course of his life.”

The $2 million in non-economic damages and the $79,759.10 in economic damages were reduced by 25 percent to $1,559,819.32, based on a comparative negligence finding by the judge because the victim did not use a nearby crosswalk when crossing Wolcott Street (Route 69) in Waterbury.

However, the court awarded punitive noneconomic damages in the amount of $2 million, bringing the total damages awarded to $3,559,819.78.

“Punitive damages are very rarely awarded and are only awarded when the Plaintiff can show that the Defendant’s conduct was reckless,” Cramer & Anderson Partner Randy DiBella said.

Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney Ryan Henry Cramer & Anderson

Cramer & Anderson injury law Partner Ryan Henry

“I am honored to represent the victim in this tragic case,” Attorney Henry said. “He was beloved by his family and the community, and he will be missed. Fortunately, the Court saw this matter for what it was and entered a significant judgment against Mr. Hamer and hopefully this will send a message to others on the road.”

In awarding the $3.559 million in damages, Judge D’Andrea found in favor of Attorney Henry’s client on all three counts in the complaint – that Hamer was negligent and statutorily reckless in the operation of his motor vehicle, and that the hit-and-run death was caused by the negligence and statutory recklessness of the defendant.

According to the memorandum of decision:

  • The hit-and-run death of the victim occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on April 27, 2019.
  • The victim who was born with special needs and spent most of his time as a child and as an adult with his brother, was crossing the road with his brother and pulling a red wagon they had taken to get air in the tires.
  • Hamer was stopped in his Honda Accord at the red light at the intersection of Wolcott Street and Prichard Street, where he was observed by a witness. When the light turned green, he approached the next red light, and when it turned green, he accelerated at a high rate of speed and struck the victim.
  • According to the police report, a 911 call reporting the incident came in at 8:06 p.m. A minute later, Hamer called police and reported that his car had been stolen by “a bunch of people” on East Main Street.
  • At approximately 10:05 p.m., the investigating police officers located Hamer, who appeared to be intoxicated. He explained that while waiting for the police officers to arrive, he drank a few beers because he was anxious. He said he had not been drinking before the accident and thought he hit a wagon – and when he looked in the mirror, he saw only a wagon.
  • The judge did not find this claim credible. When Hamer was located that night, he asked the officers if the “‘people he hit’ were OK, suggesting that he was aware he had struck a person.” He asked several more times while being taken to the hospital to have his blood drawn.

The victim was 55 years old when he died as a result of the hit-and-run. The memorandum of decision noted that he spent most of his time as a child and as an adult with his brother in Waterbury. He worked part-time for Easter Seals and ARC, mowed lawns and worked in restaurants – as well as coaching the Waterbury Olympians in the Special Olympics and competing in the pentathlon.

A devoted fan of the New York Yankees and UConn women’s basketball team, the victim was kind to others and loved by the community, the decision said. He skied, cycled, bowled, danced, and enjoyed amusement parks, vacations, and camping. It was estimated that 400 people attended his funeral.

About Attorney Henry

Attorney Ryan Henry limits his practice to injury law by seeking compensation for those injured and killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another.

Attorney Henry has represented plaintiffs in injury cases and death cases that include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking wrecks, and boating accidents.

He also seeks redress for those injured or killed by defective products and has successful sued many major Fortune 500 companies on behalf of those injured by product defects.

A significant portion of his practice includes seeking compensation for injuries caused by dogs, as well as injuries caused by trip-and-falls and/or slip-and-falls that occur on dangerous and defective property. Attorney Henry has also represented injured victims and those killed by explosions.

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