Can Auto Mechanics or Repair Shops Be Liable for a Car Accident?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Oct 27, 2020 in Auto Accidents
Many of us do not know much about how our cars work, which is why we trust mechanics to fix them. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know beforehand if a mechanic will do good work. We often rely on online customer reviews or recommendations from friends or family members.
All this uncertainty means there is a chance you could hire a mechanic who does poor work and makes your car unsafe to drive. If this happens, the mechanic may be held liable for your damages.
However, this is a complicated situation to try to manage on your own. The Phoenix auto accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group have a proven track record of recovering compensation for crash victims throughout Arizona.
Below, learn more about liability for auto mechanics and repair shops when a crash is caused by negligent repair work.
Proving a Mechanic Was Negligent
Not only does your attorney need to prove the mechanic was negligent, he or she must show how this negligence is connected to your accident. You may not need to prove the mechanic was the sole cause of the accident, just one of the causes.
Negligence is a legal theory that is applied to most personal injury cases. It states that a person or party may be held liable if the victim can establish four elements:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim, meaning the at-fault party needed to take reasonable steps to help prevent the victim from suffering injuries.
- The duty of care was breached, either through reckless actions or the failure to act.
- The breach has a causal connection to the harm suffered by the victim.
- The harms suffered by the victim resulted in damages.
What is a Mechanic’s Duty of Care?
The first thing your lawyer would need to establish is the mechanic’s duty of care when fixing your car.
If the mechanic had a license, he or she may have a greater obligation to do good work, as opposed to a mechanic without a license. While Arizona does not require auto mechanics to have licenses, most reputable repair shops require mechanics to have a license, such as an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification.
For example, you might expect a mechanic who has gone through the process of getting an ASE certification to have a better understanding of problems with a car and when it may be unsafe to drive. If he or she sees wear and tear on an engine component, he or she may have a duty to investigate further.
If a mechanic does not have a license but has significant experience working on cars, and this experience can be documented, this mechanic may have a duty of care like the duty of a licensed mechanic. Due to their experience, a reasonable person may expect them to notice problems and either fix them or tell the owner of the vehicle.
Proving a Breach of Duty of Care
The next step in proving negligence is showing there was a breach of duty of care. For example, maybe the mechanic should have noticed a problem that made your car unsafe to drive. Maybe he or she needed to double check his or her work or more carefully inspect something.
Essentially, if it would have been reasonable to expect a mechanic to do something, and he or she did not, there may have been a breach of duty of care.
Mechanics and repair shops may have a duty to warn you about problems. For example, if they tell you your car may be unsafe to drive because of a specific problem, and you do it anyway, the shop may not hold any liability for an accident that occurs. For example, if they say the treads on your tires are low and they may struggle to gain traction in rainy conditions, and you drive in the rain, they may not be liable for a crash.
Other examples of a breach of duty of care may include:
- Performing the wrong repair
- Not removing objects that got into the vehicle while repair work was being performed
- Installing the incorrect part
- Damaging things near the area of the car that was being worked on
- Modifying the vehicle in such a way it became illegal to drive
Linking a Breached Duty to Your Injuries
This is often one of the toughest things to prove in a personal injury claim. That is why you should seriously consider seeking legal representation. An attorney may be able to bring in an expert witness who can apply his or her technical knowledge of automotive repair to determine how negligent work may have contributed to your crash.
It is important to keep documentation of all repair work done on your vehicle. After a crash, the shop that works on your car may be able to use this information to document problems that may have led to the crash.
Was Your Mechanic Negligent? Give Us a Call Today for Help
When an auto mechanic’s negligence leads to a crash, the results can be devastating. At Phillips Law Group, we have seen how tough it can be for auto accident victims to recover. We also know how important it is for negligent parties to be held accountable and for victims to recover compensation for their damages.
We proudly take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means no upfront fees or obligations. We do not get paid for pursuing your claim unless you receive compensation.
Give us a call today for answers to your questions. 1-800-706-3000