Tort Law

Prior Similar Accidents

This page is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court dealing with the topic of prior similar accidents and the related topics of product liability.

Prior Similar Accidents-Cases

2012 Funkhouser v. Ford Motor Company, 285 Va. 272, 736 S.E.2d 309.
In this products liability action on re-hearing plaintiff’s expert was properly precluded from relying upon seven (7) other fires in other vehicles since they were not substantially similar to the present case. Although expert may rely on inadmissible material in forming an opinion, the expert cannot offer opinion testimony based on evi- dence that fails that substantial similarity test.

2012 Funkhouser v. Ford Motor Company, 284 Va. 214, S.E.2d, 726 S.E.2d 302.
In this product liability action alleging failure to warn of dangers of dashboard electrical fires, the issue of the admissibility of other van fires is governed by whether or not they occurred under substantially the same circumstances and were caused by the same or similar defects and dangers as those alleged in the present fire.

2002 Jones v. Ford Motor Co., 263 Va. 237, 559 S.E.2d 592.
Prior similar accidents:Products liability action involving sudden acceleration of Ford vehicle. Study conducted by Ford of 2,900 unsworn claims by motorists of unintended acceleration events was inadmissible to show Ford’s notice of alleged defect. There was no evidence that claims mentioned in study occurred under substantially similar circumstances as incident in question or had been caused by similar or same defects and dangers. Likewise, expert for plaintiff could not rely upon those claims as predicate for opinions.

1992 Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Watson, 243 Va. 128, 413 S.E.2d 630.
Prior similar accidents:Products liability claim against asbestos manufacturer. Prior workers’ compensation claims deemed admissible because they bore substantial similarity to this claim.

1990 Ford Motor Co. v. Phelps, 239 Va. 272, 389 S.E.2d 454.
Products liability action involving defect in auto. Prior complaints about this model from other owners were admissible for limited purpose of notice, and jury should have been so informed.

1977 Roll “R” Way Rinks v. Smith, 218 Va. 321, 237 S.E.2d 157.
Prior similar accidents:Evidence of prior accident is admissible, if prior accident happened at substantially same place and under substantially same circumstances and had been caused by same or similar defects and dangers as those in issue or by acts of same person. Remoteness of prior accident goes to question of admissibility and not just to weight.

1973 Carter v. Shoemaker, 214 Va. 16, 197 S.E.2d 181.
Defendant’s counsel in opening statement mentioned that plaintiff had been in several accidents while defendant had not had any. Mistrial should have been granted.

1963 City of Portsmouth v. Cilumbrello, 204 Va. 11, 129 S.E.2d 31.
Evidence of prior similar accident admitted to show notice where circumstances of those prior accidents were substantially same as circumstances of plaintiff’s accident.

1962 Spurlin v. Richardson, 203 Va. 984, 128 S.E.2d 273.
Plaintiff injured while playing on tractor. No error in refusing to admit evidence of prior occasions when tractor had moved while parked. No showing that these involved circumstances substantially similar.

1961 Gall v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 202 Va. 835, 120 S.E.2d 378.
Defendant offered evidence of prior accident in defendant’s store. Plaintiff objected but did not properly preserve objection. Court did not rule that such evidence was inadmissible but seems to infer such.

1959 Sykes v. Railway Co., 200 Va. 559, 106 S.E.2d 746.
Employee of defendant testified that since installation of warning device, there had been only one nighttime accident. Rule in Virginia is that evidence of absence of other injuries is not admissible when timely objection is interposed to it. However, this rule was relaxed in present case because plaintiff offered evidence that defendant’s employee had apprised defendant of inadequacy of crossing device.

1953 Crocker v. WTAR, 194 Va. 572, 74 S.E.2d 51.
Evidence of prior similar accidents at same location and similar circumstances were admitted.

1952 Northern Va. Power Co. v. Bailey, 194 Va. 464, 73 S.E.2d 425.
Court admitted evidence of prior similar accident and corrective action was taken by defendant as result of that prior accident.

1950 Southern Stevedoring Corp. v. Harris, 190 Va. 628, 58 S.E.2d 302.
Prior accidents were admitted to establish notice of defect in machine.

1948 Walker v. Memorial Hosp., 187 Va. 5, 45 S.E.2d 898.
Reference to prior accident.

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Prior Similar Accidents

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