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PERSONAL INJURY: Trial court holds car owner rebutted presumption that operator was his agent

The plaintiff brought suit against the owner of a vehicle under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-183 for an accident in which the owner’s vehicle collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle and the operator of the owner’s vehicle then fled the scene.

During trial, the vehicle owner testified that he had been incarcerated at the time of the accident and that, at the time of his arrest, he had told his girlfriend to start the vehicle once per day, but that no one was permitted to drive the vehicle.  He also provided evidence that the vehicle was reported stolen on the date of the accident and the court noted that this was corroborated by the fact that the driver fled the scene after the accident.

The court also found that the defendant had no motive to lie about whether or not he had given permission for others to drive the vehicle because his insurance would have provided protection to authorized drivers.

The court ruled that the defendant had produced sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption of agency.  The plaintiff produced no evidence to overcome the defendant’s case and the court entered judgment for the defendant.

Harris v. Lopez, No. CV 15-6058235 (04/16/18)