A Cook County jury has found in favor of the family of a BMW salesman in its wrongful death suit against a man who took a test drive and crashed the car, killing the salesman. The jury awarded the decedent’s family $13.7 million, concluding that Christopher Maher, the driver, was liable for the death. On the day of the crash, Maher, then 20 years of age, went to the BMW dealership where the salesman worked, presented his driver’s license and took out a 2003 530i sedan for a test drive. The salesman sat in the front passenger seat, while two of Maher’s friends sat in the rear.
At about 5:50 p.m. the BMW driven by the customer was traveling at about 95 mph when it clipped the front end of a car making a left turn onto the highway. The BWM then swerved and hit a light pole with the front passenger side of the car taking the brunt of the impact. Maher, who was ejected, and his two friends suffered serious injuries, but survived. The salesman died as a result of his injuries.
In October 2005, Maher pleaded guilty to aggravated speeding in connection with the crash. He was sentenced to one year of probation and 30 days of community service. Timothy J. Cavenagh, a lawyer from Chicago, represented the family of the salesman and did a very good job.
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