The January 2006 award of $26.5 million to trucker Shawn Pouliot, who was rendered paraplegic due to a defective lift gate, was the year’s first and largest Connecticut jury verdict.

It came just weeks after the 2005 record, when steelworker Norman Pelletier won a $32.1 million verdict for spinal injuries he suffered when a two-ton girder gave way, due to uninspected welds.