Why Your Mechanic May Be Responsible for Your Car Accident
There is nothing more gut-wrenching than hitting your brakes and not slowing down or hearing a loud POP and feeling your car suddenly careen to the side as your tire bursts. Sudden mechanical failures and auto defects are a surefire way to end up in a serious accident. But when such accidents happen, who could be considered at fault?
Your Mechanic’s Duty of Care
Mechanics owe each of their customers a certain duty of care. Duty of care means that they have a legal responsibility to reasonably make sure they do not do anything that could lead to a customer becoming injured. Because mechanics are in charge of repairing your vehicle, they have a great deal of responsibility in making sure that your car, motorcycle, or truck are safe to drive. Otherwise, there could be serious consequences for you and your passengers. A mechanic’s responsibilities include:
- Properly inspecting the vehicle for any dangerous defects or issues
- Completely repairing the vehicle, unless otherwise stipulated by the customer
- Testing the vehicle after repairs in order to be sure that the defects have been fixed
- Avoiding any unrequested or unnecessary repairs
If a mechanic fails in these responsibilities, it could count as a breach of duty of care. It is important to remember that this duty of care only exists between the mechanic and a customer, meaning that if you are not a customer of the mechanic, they do not have a responsibility towards you. That being said, when a duty of care is breached, it means that a mechanic could be considered negligent, and thus potentially liable for any resulting damages, if their customer was injured.
When Mechanics Are Negligent?
Car accidents are devastating. Even a so-called “minor” fender bender can lead to severe injuries that could impact you for months to come. That is why a negligent mechanic can be so dangerous. One oversight, whether on purpose or accident, can result in costly injuries.
Some common ways that mechanics can be negligent include:
- Failing to properly inspect the vehicle, thus missing obvious mechanical issues
- Failing to repair a key auto defect
- Failing to install new parts properly or safely
- Causing damage to the vehicle during inspections or repairs
- Repairing the wrong part or making an unagreed upon adjustment
- Making illegal modifications
- Allowing untrained or otherwise unqualified people, employees or otherwise, to make repairs
- Using known defective or recalled parts to make repairs
Of course, holding a mechanic responsible for these acts of negligence is easier said than done. After all, you will not only have to show that they had a duty of care towards you, but also prove that there was an act of negligence.
Proving negligence often requires an in-depth investigation. After all, you will need evidence when demanding compensation; otherwise, the adverse insurance will happily deny your claim. First thing, you will need to demonstrate a few key factors, including:
- There was a duty of care between you and the mechanic
- That duty of care was breached by an act of negligence
- A reasonable mechanic would not have acted negligently
- This negligence directly led to your injuries, and thus your damages
While proving that your mechanic was responsible for your accident can be difficult, it is by no means impossible. There are a few avenues that you and your attorney can take when it comes to recovering evidence for your case. The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. recommends that you:
Speak to witnesses: This could be another employee at the mechanic’s shop or someone who saw the actual accident and can testify that you didn’t cause the accident yourself. While witnesses are not the be-all and end-all of evidence, they can provide important context about your accident.
Get a second opinion: After your accident, if you suspect that a mechanical error was the problem, then you should have a new mechanic take a look at your car. They may be able to tell you if there was an auto defect and if it was something your mechanic should have spotted and fixed properly.
Look through footage and photos: You may also be able to get footage of the area that you crashed in, showing that you didn’t do anything to cause the collision. If you have photos of your vehicle before and after the visit to the shop, that may also be used as evidence if there are any clear signs of auto defects. The mechanic shop may also have security tapes that could be used to show that there was an act of negligence, but you will need the aid of a lawyer to subpoena them.
Refer to bills and receipts: All you need to establish a duty of care is evidence that you were a legitimate customer of the mechanic. That means that you should hold on to any bills or receipts you received from your mechanic; that way you can clearly establish that they had a duty of care towards you and your vehicle.
Get a top-notch attorney: Your mechanic and their insurance provider are unlikely to accept responsibility easily. That is why working with an attorney is key when trying to recover damages. For excellent legal advice from a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney, call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 today.