Connecticut Court Finds Car Dealership Not Liable for Accident Involving Car with Dealership License Plate

Even when they may seem straightforward, Connecticut car accident cases can be complex and involve multiple parties. In a recent case, a Connecticut appeals court considered a case against a car dealership after a car with a dealership license plate was involved in an accident.

Car DealershipIn that case, a man bought a car from a car dealership on May 9, 2013. However, since the registration from his previous vehicle had not yet been transferred to the new one, the dealership loaned him a dealer plate number. They signed a loan agreement at around 7 p.m. that evening. On June 8, 2013, at around 3 p.m., the man was driving the car and was in an accident. Three passengers were in the car with him. One of the passengers was killed, and two of them sustained serious injuries. At the time, the car still had the dealer license plate displayed.

Under Connecticut law, a dealership can loan a dealer license plate for 30 days while the registration of the new car is pending. If a dealer complies with the requirements, it is not liable for damages caused by the driver while it displays the loaned licensed plate number.

The plaintiffs alleged that the dealership was liable for damages because the dealer license plate was still on the car and because the accident occurred beyond the 30-day period set forth in the statute, since the 30-day period began on the date the loan agreement was signed. The defendant filed a summary judgment motion and asserted that the accident occurred within the 30-day period, claiming that it occurred 29 days and 20 hours after the plates were loaned out.

The court concluded that the accident occurred within the 30-day period and granted summary judgment in favor of the dealership. It concluded that even if the 30-day period began at 7 p.m. on May 9, 2013, the 30-day period would not have expired because the five hours remaining in the day would not have been counted as one full day. The court determined that May 10, 2013 was the first day of the 30-day period, and the accident occurred within the 30 days. Therefore, the dealership was not liable for the damages arising from the accident.

The Summary Judgment Standard in Connecticut

A party can file a motion for judgment to have the court make a decision on the case based on the evidence submitted by the parties. Under Connecticut law, summary judgment must be granted “if the pleadings, affidavits and any other proof submitted show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact” and if the party moving for summary judgment “is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Conn. P.B. sec. 17-49.

When considering a summary judgment motion, a court must look at the evidence “in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” The party moving for summary judgment has the burden to show that there are no genuine issues of material fact.

Contact a Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Connecticut car crash or another accident, contact Brickley Law, LLC. We represent individuals in New Canaan and surrounding areas in personal injury cases. Brickley Law understands the laws concerning your case and is prepared to offer you its knowledgeable assistance. With aggressive strategies, creative approaches, and effective methods, we can help you obtain the satisfactory results you need. When you retain our New Canaan lawyer, you receive the caring, qualified, and experienced representation that you deserve. Call Brickley Law now at (203) 599-3600.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Wrong-Way Car Accidents in Connecticut, Connecticut Injury Lawyer Blog, March 5, 2018.

Connecticut Supreme Court Considers Whether School Is Liable for Failure to Supervise Students, Connecticut Injury Lawyer Blog, February 13, 2018.

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