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Car accident liability: Did the dealer know brakes didn’t work?

When someone is involved in any type of accident, he or she may be able to pursue compensation from those determined to be responsible. Milwaukee residents understand this might not be a simple undertaking. The investigation of liability for an auto accident hopefully turns up the facts. Resolution, however, quite often includes twists and turns through the legal system.

A couple in another state filed a complaint claiming reckless, negligent, and wanton conduct on the part of individual defendants and their business. They assert a car dealer knowingly allowed an untrained salesman to take a minivan on the road. The complaint also avers the dealer knew the vehicle was not fit for safe driving because of the notations on the window stating it had no brakes and a high idling level.

Reportedly, the wife was driving a Nissan Sentra when she was struck by a 2003 Toyota Sienna owned by the defendant dealer. The minivan had veered into her lane of traffic unexpectedly. The lawsuit seeks actual damages for medical expenses and property loss as well as punitive damages. The plaintiff's husband claims loss of consortium.

Defendants filed a motion with the court to dismiss all counts except loss of consortium because they reportedly contend plaintiffs didn't show a conscious disregard of a known risk by the defendants. The motion claims they were not shown in the complaint to be so well aware of the car's condition that it became highly likely to cause harm.

The judge denied the motion, concluding the defendants didn't sufficiently show plaintiffs failed to present their claims. He opined that even if discovery and testimony ultimately show a lack of cause, it was too soon in the proceedings to rule so.

This case illustrates the importance of a clear understanding of the facts surrounding any auto accident or other basis for a lawsuit. Careful wording, proper claims, and effective strategies will help the injured families in their efforts to recover financially and emotionally.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Dealership May Be Liable for Brakeless Van Crash" Rose Bouboushian, Feb. 19, 2014

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