Garage partly liable for “brain injury” to 15-year-old

Diane.Freeman | March 14, 2017

We all do it. We put keys in the vehicle without locking the vehicle or thinking someone may steal the vehicle. Well, it happened to a garage in Bruce County.

Now the garage owner is partly liable for a “catastrophic brain injury” a 15-year-old suffered when a car he helped steal from the business crashed, Ontario’s highest court has ruled.

The judge in the case said that “people who (are) entrusted with the possession of motor vehicles must assure themselves that the youth in their community are not able to take possession of such dangerous objects.”

The notion that an innocent party could owe a duty of care to someone who steals from him seems extravagant, a three-judge Appeal Court panel backed a jury’s finding that Rankin’s Garage & Sales in the Bruce County village of Paisley is partly liable because it left the key in the car and took no steps to prevent the car from being stolen.

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Reminder to all shop owners that you are responsible to safeguard your customer’s vehicles and that you take every precaution by locking up the keys in a safe place.


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