My Auto Mechanic Caused My Car Accident, Now What?
You rely on your auto mechanic to keep you safe, make sure proper tests are done on your car, and to maintain your vehicle. But.. what if they don’t? What if there was an improper check up done on the car? What if they used a faulty part? What if these factors caused you to have a car accident? If this happens, you need to be aware about auto accident law in your state.
Legal Duty of an Auto Shop
An auto shop is responsible for keeping your car safe for you to drive and for following specific protocols and professional standards. A licensed mechanic is responsible for giving you proper inspections, informing you of recalls, and ensuring they perform vehicle repairs correctly.
If you are worried that auto accident laws won’t apply, because your auto mechanic has a contractual agreement stating that they or the business cannot be held liable for any vehicle damage or accidents, fret not. If auto mechanic negligence caused an accident and you were injured, the contractual agreement is not binding. It’s a disclaimer. Plain and simple.
Legal Duty of an Auto Mechanic
Repair shops have what’s known as a legal “duty of care” to ensure vehicles leave their premises in good repair. This duty of care means the mechanic must inform you of any maintenance that needs to be performed, employ reasonable skill and care in performing any repairs, and warn you about any potential dangers associated with the repair work. For instance, if a mechanic rotating your tires knows the tires are bald and likely to blow out soon, they must warn you about the danger and recommend you replace them immediately. If you drive off without heeding their advice, the mechanic isn’t liable if the tires blow out and cause a crash because you chose to drive an unsafe vehicle. If, however, you asked them to change the tires and they did a poor job or failed to inform you about other issues with your tires, they can be held liable if the accident was caused by the mechanic’s negligent work.
If you are wondering whether a mechanic caused your accident, an experienced auto accident lawyer can review your case, determine who is at fault, and help you understand your legal options.
Different Types of Negligent Work
Negligent work is caused by a shop failing to repair your vehicle according to industry standards. Additionally, sub-standard repairs which can lead to vehicle damage and make a car unsafe to drive, can also be a liability.
The following are examples of auto mechanic negligence that may give rise to legal liability:
- Fraud—if a repair shop intentionally replaces working parts with used or defective ones to make you return and spend more money or to save the shop money, and it causes an accident, you may have a negligence claim;
- Faulty work—if a mechanic performs shoddy repair work and the failure results in a broken-down car, they may be liable for your damages; and
- Neglect—when a mechanic’s carelessness, inattention, or disregard results in faulty repairs that are serious enough to cause a car accident, they may be liable for injuries and losses.
A person may also have multiple claims that fall under different categories. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have one or more claims for negligence and help you fight for the compensation you may be entitled to.
How Can I Prove That a Repair Shop or Mechanic Was Negligent?
If you truly believe you had an accident because your repair shop, auto shop, or mechanic was irresponsible, then just like all other personal injury cases, you will need to prove negligence.
The first step in proving negligence is showing that the mechanic or repair shop owed you a duty to care. Generally, repair shops and auto mechanics owe a duty of care to all their customers. Next, you have to prove the mechanic breached their duty of care. If you can prove the repair shop or mechanic breached their duty of care, you might be able to hold them liable for any resulting injuries, losses, and property damage.
There are many ways a mechanic’s breach of duty can result in a mechanic-caused accident. For example, a mechanic might have failed to properly inspect a vehicle or spot an obvious problem. Or, the mechanic may have installed incorrect components or improperly installed the correct components.
Suppose that you went in for your vehicle check up. The mechanic tells you that the brake pads need to be replaced. They take the old brake pads off and put a new set on. However, they replacement brake pads were the wrong type or size for your specific car and wheels. On your way home, you attempt to stop at the stoplight, but your brakes suddenly don’t work. Because you can’t stop, you veer into the intersection and another car strikes you or you strike another car and end up breaking your arm from the force of the car hitting your side of the vehicle.
In this example, the mechanic could be held liable for buying and installing the wrong brake pads. However, you would need proof that this was the case. In most situations this can be proven by documentation – for example, a mechanic has order forms they fill out to get parts in, along with your name, your car type, and registration number, etc. You could also hire an auto mechanic specialist who deals with cases like yours to provide documentation that X part should have been ordered as Y part or was installed improperly.
Having your car inspected by an expert after an accident can also establish that the mechanic erred by uncovering obvious repair mistakes or shedding light on issues the repair shop or mechanic overlooked or neglected.
When to Sue a Mechanic or Car Repair Shop
If you believe you were injured in an accident that was caused by improper or negligent mechanic service, it’s best to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can advise you of your options and fight to recover a settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering.
Call Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. Today
It’s important that you hire someone who has experience in auto accident law. A lawyer will not only help you figure out if you have a valid case, but can also help you get the evidence and documentation you need to help win your case and get compensation. With over 100 years of combined experience handling accident cases and 30 years of practice under our belts, Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. has the skill and dedication needed to hold the person who injured you accountable. For a free consultation contact us at 303-447-1144.
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