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3.6-14  Excused or Justified Violation of Statute

Revised to January 1, 2008

A defendant who has violated a statutory duty is negligent as a matter of law, unless there is a valid excuse or justification for the violation.  If you find that a valid excuse or justification exists, then the defendant's conduct is not negligent as a matter of law.  All persons are required to make reasonable efforts to comply with the laws governing their conduct.  The defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a valid excuse or justification exists. A valid excuse or justification exists if you find, from the evidence presented:  <list those applicable:>

  • that the defendant made reasonable efforts to comply with the statutory requirements, but a violation occurred of which the defendant was unaware; OR

  • that the defendant made reasonable efforts to comply with the statutory requirements, but after making such efforts, the defendant was unable to comply; OR

  • that the defendant was confronted by an emergency not due to (his/her) own misconduct; <see Sudden Emergency, Instruction 3.7-18>; OR

  • that compliance with the statute would involve a greater risk of harm to the defendant or others.

Authority

Gore v. People's Savings Bank, 235 Conn. 360, 376 n.16, 377 (1995); 2 Restatement (Second), Torts § 288A (1965).

Notes

This charge, applicable in general negligence cases, is to be given in conjunction with Negligence Per Se - Statutory Negligence, Instruction 3.6-13.  It should be given when the defendant has attempted to avoid liability by offering proof of a valid excuse or justification.  Only the pertinent excuses should be read to the jury.  This charge should not be given when the specific statutory provision provides that no excuses or justifications are permitted to avoid liability.  Such statutes result in strict liability on the part of the violator.  Gore v. People's Savings Bank, supra, 235 Conn. 377-78, 382-83.
 


 

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