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I Right–Angle Automobile Collision

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil I
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2022 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 36. Illustrative Sets of Instructions
I Right–Angle Automobile Collision
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The plaintiff, Henry Miller, was driving his automobile north on Oak Street approaching the intersection with Pine Street. John Anderson, the defendant, was driving his automobile east on Pine Street, also approaching the intersection with Oak Street. There were no traffic controls at this intersection. The two vehicles collided near the center of the intersection, and each driver insisted that he had entered the intersection first. Substantial damage was done to both vehicles, and Anderson received minor personal injuries which resulted in no permanent disability and no loss of time from his employment but did require medical attention. Miller, however, suffered brain damage, which resulted in permanent paralysis of his left leg and required extensive and expensive medical care and hospitalization. Miller brought suit against Anderson for his property damage and personal injuries, including loss of income, loss of earning ability, and present and future medical bills. Anderson filed a counterclaim asking for the damage to his automobile, for recovery for pain and suffering, and for his medical bills. Both the complaint and counterclaim contained allegations of failure to yield the right of way, failure to keep a lookout, failure to keep the vehicle under control, and driving at an excessive speed. The proof showed that Miller had lost considerable income, that his earning ability was seriously impaired, and that he would continue to suffer pain and require medical treatment in the future.
A suggested set of instructions in recommended sequence:
(AMI
number)
1.103.Respective Duties of Judge and Jury—Cautionary Instructions.
2.104.Jury—Personal Observations and Experiences.
3.105.Credibility of Witnesses.
4.108.Circumstantial Evidence.
5.202.Meaning of Burden of Proof and Preponderance of the Evidence.
6.204.Issues—Complaint and Counterclaim Based on Negligence or Fault—Burden of Proof.
7.302.Negligence—Definition.
8.303.Ordinary Care—Definition.
9.305.Duty to Use Ordinary Care.
10.501.Proximate Cause—Concurring Proximate Cause—Definition.
11.901.Common Law Rules of Road—Lookout—Control—Speed.
12.904.Right of Way—Uncontrolled Intersection.
13.909.Right of Way—Definition—Acquisition—Use.
14.2103.Comparative Negligence or Fault—Complaint and Counterclaim—One Plaintiff and One Defendant.
15.2201.Measure of Damages—General Instruction.
16.2201.Measure of Damages—General Instruction.
17.2221.Fair Market Value—Definition.
18.2219.Purpose of Mortality Tables.
19.2220.Present Value—Definition.
20.3501.Closing Instructions.
Text of Suggested Instructions
1. (AMI 103)
  • (a) The faithful performance of your duties as jurors is essential to the administration of justice.
  • (b) It is my duty as judge to inform you of the law applicable to this case by instructions, and it is your duty to accept and follow them as a whole, not singling out one instruction to the exclusion of others. You should not consider any rule of law with which you may be familiar unless it is included in my instructions.
  • (c) It is your duty to determine the facts from the evidence produced in this trial. You are to apply the law as contained in these instructions to the facts and render your verdict upon the evidence and law. You should not permit sympathy, prejudice, or like or dislike of any party to this action or of any attorney to influence your findings in this case.
  • (d) In deciding the issues, you should consider the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits received in evidence. The introduction of evidence in court is governed by law. You should accept without question my rulings as to the admissibility or rejection of evidence, drawing no inferences that by these rulings I have in any manner indicated my views on the merits of the case.
  • (e) Opening statements, remarks during the trial, and closing arguments of the attorneys are not evidence but are made only to help you in understanding the evidence and applicable law. Any argument, statements, or remarks of attorneys having no basis in the evidence should be disregarded by you. However, an admission of fact by an attorney is binding on his or her client.
  • (f) I have not intended by anything I have said or done, or by any questions that I may have asked, to intimate or suggest what you should find to be the facts, or that I believe or disbelieve any witness who testified. If anything that I have done or said has seemed to so indicate, you will disregard it.
2. (AMI 104)
In considering the evidence in this case you are not required to set aside your common knowledge, but you have a right to consider all the evidence in the light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.
3. (AMI 105)
You are the sole judges of the weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses. In determining the credibility of any witness and the weight to be given his testimony, you may take into consideration his demeanor while on the witness stand, any prejudice for or against a party, his means of acquiring knowledge concerning any matter to which he testified, any interest he may have in the outcome of the case, and the consistency or inconsistency of his testimony, as well as its reasonableness or unreasonableness.
4. (AMI 108)
A fact in dispute may be proved by circumstantial evidence as well as by direct evidence. A fact is established by direct evidence when, for example, it is proved by witnesses who testify to what they saw, heard, or experienced. A fact is established by circumstantial evidence when its existence can reasonably be inferred from other facts proved in the case.
5. (AMI 202)
A party who has the burden of proof on a proposition must establish it by a preponderance of the evidence, unless the proposition is so established by other proof in the case. “Preponderance of the evidence” means the greater weight of evidence. The greater weight of evidence is not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses testifying to any fact or state of facts. It is the evidence which, when weighed with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and is more probably true and accurate. If, upon any issue in the case, the evidence appears to be equally balanced, or if you cannot say upon which side it weighs heavier, you must resolve that question against the party who has the burden of proving it.
6. (AMI 204)
Mr. Miller and Mr. Anderson claim damages from each other. A party claiming damages has the burden of proving each of three essential propositions:
  • First, that he has sustained damages;
  • Second, that the party from whom he seeks to recover was negligent;
  • And third, that such negligence was a proximate cause of the damages sustained by the claiming party.
Each party contends that the other acted with negligence which was a proximate cause of his own damages. Each has the burden of proving this contention.
7. (AMI 302)
When I use the word “negligence” in these instructions I mean the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case. It is for you to decide how a reasonably careful person would act under those circumstances.
8. (AMI 303)
A failure to exercise ordinary care is negligence. When I use the words “ordinary care,” I mean the care a reasonably careful person would use under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case. It is for you to decide how a reasonably careful person would act under those circumstances.
9. (AMI 305)
It was the duty of both persons involved in the occurrence to use ordinary care for their own safety and the safety of others and their property.
10. (AMI 501)
The law frequently uses the expression “proximate cause,” with which you may not be familiar. When I use the expression “proximate cause,” I mean a cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, produces damage and without which the damage would not have occurred.
This does not mean that the law recognizes only one proximate cause of damage. To the contrary, if two or more causes work together to produce damage, then you may find that each of them was a proximate cause.
11. (AMI 901)
In determining whether the driver of a motor vehicle was negligent you may consider the following three rules of the road:
First: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to keep a lookout for other vehicles or persons on the street or highway. The lookout required is that which a reasonably careful driver would keep under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case.
Second: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to keep his vehicle under control. The control required is that which a reasonably careful driver would maintain under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence in this case.
Third: It is the duty of the driver of a motor vehicle to drive at a speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, having due regard for any actual or potential hazards.
A failure to meet the standard of conduct required by any of these three rules is negligence.
12. (AMI 904)
When vehicles are approaching an intersection from different streets, the driver of a motor vehicle must yield the right of way to another driver who, in the exercise of ordinary care, has already entered the intersection.
If vehicles are approaching an intersection from different streets at such relative speeds and distances from the intersection that both vehicles will enter the intersection at about the same time, then the law requires the driver of the vehicle on the left to yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.
A violation of these rules governing the approach to an intersection, although not necessarily negligence, is evidence of negligence to be considered by you along with all of the other facts and circumstances in the case.
13. (AMI 909)
When I use the term “right of way,” I mean the superior right to the immediate use of the street.
One must exercise ordinary care in acquiring the right of way, and the right of way cannot be acquired by negligent conduct.
Once having obtained the right of way, a person must continue to exercise ordinary care to avoid injury or damage to himself or others.
14. (AMI 2103)
If you should find that Mr. Miller was not negligent or that his negligence was not a proximate cause of the occurrence, then he is entitled to recover the full amount of any damages you may find he has sustained which were proximately caused by any negligence of Mr. Anderson.
If you should find that Mr. Anderson was not negligent or that his negligence was not a proximate cause of the occurrence, then he is entitled to recover the full amount of any damages you may find he has sustained which were proximately caused by any negligence of Mr. Miller.
If you should find that the occurrence was proximately caused by the negligence of both Mr. Miller and Mr. Anderson, then you must compare the percentages of their negligence.
If the negligence of Mr. Miller was of less degree than the negligence of Mr. Anderson, then you should find for Mr. Miller on his complaint, and also for him on the counterclaim of Mr. Anderson. However, you must reduce the damages of Mr. Miller in proportion to the degree of his own negligence.
If the negligence of Mr. Anderson was of less degree than the negligence of Mr. Miller, then you should find for Mr. Anderson on his counterclaim and also for him on the complaint of Mr. Miller. However, you must reduce the damages of Mr. Anderson in proportion to the degree of his own negligence.
If you should find that Mr. Miller and Mr. Anderson were equally negligent, or that neither was negligent, then neither can recover from the other, and you should find against Mr. Miller on his complaint and against Mr. Anderson on his counterclaim.
15. (AMI 2201)
If you decide for Mr. Miller on the question of liability, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate him for any of the following six elements of damage which you find were proximately caused by the negligence of Mr. Anderson:
(a) (AMI 2202) First: The nature, extent, duration, and permanency of any injury.
(b) (AMI 2204) Second: The reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, and services received and the present value of such expense reasonably certain to be required in the future.
(c) (AMI 2205) Third: Any pain and suffering and mental anguish experienced in the past and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future.
(d) (AMI 2206) Fourth: The value of any earnings lost.
(e) (AMI 2207) Fifth: The present value of any loss of ability to earn in the future.
(f) (AMI 2210) Sixth: The difference in the fair market value of his automobile immediately before and immediately after the occurrence. In determining this difference you may take into consideration the reasonable cost of repairs.
(End of AMI 2201) Whether any of these six elements of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
16. (AMI 2201)
If you decide for Mr. Anderson on the question of liability you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate him for any of the following four elements of damage sustained which you find were proximately caused by the negligence of Mr. Miller:
(a) (AMI 2202) First: The nature, extent, and duration of any injury.
(b) (AMI 2204) Second: The reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment, and services received.
(c) (AMI 2205) Third: Any pain and suffering and mental anguish experienced in the past.
(d) (AMI 2210) Fourth: The difference in the fair market value of his automobile immediately before and immediately after the occurrence. In determining this difference you may take into consideration the reasonable cost of repairs.
(End of AMI 2201) Whether any of these four elements of damage has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
17. (AMI 2221)
When I use the expression “fair market value,” I mean the price that the automobile would bring on the open market in a sale between a seller who is willing to sell and a buyer who is willing and able to buy after a reasonable opportunity for negotiations.
18. (AMI 2219)
In the event that you find that Mr. Miller is entitled to damages arising in the future because of injuries, future medical expenses, or loss of earning capacity, you must determine the amount of these damages.
If these damages are of a continuing nature, you may consider how long they will continue. If they are permanent in nature, then in computing these damages you may consider how long Mr. Miller is likely to live.
With respect to loss of future earning capacity, you may consider that some persons work all their lives and others do not and that a person's earnings may remain the same or may increase or decrease in the future.
Mortality tables are evidence of an average life expectancy of a person who has reached a certain age, but they are not conclusive. They may be considered by you in connection with other evidence relating to the probable life expectancy of Mr. Miller, including evidence of his occupation, health, habits, and other activities, bearing in mind that some persons live longer than the average and some persons less than the average.
19. (AMI 2220)
I have used the expression “present value” in these instructions with respect to certain elements of damage which you may find that Mr. Miller will sustain in the future. This simply means that if you find that Mr. Miller is entitled to recover any elements of damage which require you to determine their present value, you must take into consideration the fact that money recovered will earn interest, if invested, until the time in the future when these losses will actually occur. Therefore, you must reduce any award of such damages to compensate for the reasonable earning power of money.
20. (AMI 3501)
You have now heard all the evidence and the instructions on the law you must apply in reaching your verdict. You soon will hear the lawyers’ closing arguments and then go to the jury room to decide this case. I have a few final instructions for you on how to proceed.
(a) Remember that you are to decide this case fairly, based only on the evidence presented in this courtroom and the law as instructed by me. Do not consider information from any other source. And do not allow sympathy, prejudice, or like or dislike of any party or any attorney in this case to influence your decision.
Keep in mind that the Basic Rule I have explained to you throughout the trial continues to apply during your deliberations: You are to discuss the case only among yourselves. Do not communicate about this case and the places and persons involved by any means whatsoever with anyone else at all, or look for or receive any information whatsoever about this case—including through Electronic Devices—other than the evidence in this courtroom and the law as I have instructed you, until your jury duty is complete and I have discharged you.
(b) Any notes you may have taken during the trial may be taken to the jury room to use during your deliberations. Your notes are simply an aid to your own memory, and neither your notes nor those of any other juror are a substitute for your own memory or other jurors’ memory. Leave your notes in the jury room when you have concluded your deliberations.
(c) Do not begin deliberations until all of you are assembled in the jury room. Once you are all there, the first thing for you to do is to elect one of you to act as foreperson during your deliberations. The foreperson should see to it that your discussions are orderly and that every one of you has a fair opportunity to be heard.
(d) If any of you needs to communicate with me for any reason, write me a note and give it to (the bailiff) (court personnel). In your note do not disclose any vote or division among yourselves.
At least nine of you must agree to arrive at a verdict.
If your verdict is unanimous, only the foreperson will sign your verdict form.
If your verdict is not unanimous, but nine or more of you agree on the verdict, then each of you who agrees must sign the verdict form. Those of you who do not agree must not sign the verdict form.
VERDICT FORM
We, the Jury find in favor of Henry Miller, the plaintiff, on his claim against John Anderson, the defendant, and award him damages in the following amount: $
 
 
 
ForepersonDate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VERDICT FORM
We, the Jury find in favor of John Anderson, the defendant, on his claim against Henry Miller, the plaintiff, and award him damages in the following amount: $ .
 
 
ForepersonDate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VERDICT FORM
We, the Jury, find that Henry Miller, the plaintiff, and John Anderson, the defendant, were equally negligent or that neither was negligent.
 
 
ForepersonDate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
End of Document