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ARTICLE ID 41980

$________ - FRONT WHEEL OF USED TRUCK FALLS OFF THE DAY AFTER PURCHASE DUE TO ALLEGEDLY STRIPPED AXLE NUT - PLAINTIFF SUSTAINS TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, DUAL COLLAR BONE AND SHOULDER BLADE FRACTURES AND ROTATOR CUFF INJURY.

Washington County, Maine

This was a product liability case arising from a used car dealer’s sale of a truck to the plaintiff. The plaintiff purchased the truck and the following day was involved in an accident when the right front wheel detached from the truck while the plaintiff was driving at 55 miles per hour. The plaintiff alleged that the axle nut securing the wheel was stripped and had been repaired prior to purchase by the defendant. The defendant maintained that the wheel came off the truck as a result of the plaintiff striking a steel culvert.

On February 27, ________ the 36-year-old male plaintiff purchased a used ________ Ford ________ pick up truck from the defendant. The following day, February 28, ________ while the plaintiff was traveling on Route ________ toward Lubec, Maine the front wheel fell off the plaintiff’s truck causing him to collide with a steel culvert and ultimately hit a utility pole. The plaintiff was traveling at approximately 55 miles per hour, overtaking another vehicle when he alleged that the front right wheel of the truck came off of the axle and caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to crash. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and was left comatose by the accident. He also suffered two fractured collar bones and two fractured shoulder blades together with facial lacerations and a rotator cuff injury. Due to the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, he was required to learn to walk and talk again and has been unable to return to his employment as a sea urchin diver.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant car dealership alleging that the nut for the bearing assembly on the right front wheel was stripped and caused the wheel to come dislodged. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in that it had undertaken faulty repairs on the vehicle or that it failed to detect and repair the faulty condition of the axle nut prior to selling the vehicle to the plaintiff.

The defendant disputed that it was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant through expert testimony claimed that the wheel came off as a result of the plaintiff striking a steel culvert and not due to any fault or negligence on the part of the dealer.

The plaintiff’s expert maintained that the right adjusting nut had been overtightened by the defendant and became "stripped" resulting in a dangerous condition. The defendant’s expert countered the collision of the plaintiff’s vehicle with the culvert was the cause of the sudden loss of the wheel due to the angle of the vehicle in relation to the roadway. The evidence demonstrated that there was no damage to the right front tire, minor damage to the right front wheel and significant damage to the culvert.

Following a jury trial, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant and awarded damages in the amount of $________.

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