One of the worst feelings in the world is knowing you held up your end of the bargain by keeping up with the maintenance of your vehicle, only to be left stranded on the side of the road. You start wondering if you bought a lemon that’s going to become an endless sinkhole of repair bills. Then you turn to a more rational question: did the mechanic miss something?
If you end up in a car accident after having vehicle repairs or maintenance performed and have no idea what could have happened, it might be worth investigating. That leaves the question of whether your collision was your fault or that of a shoddy mechanic.
How do I prove a repair shop is at fault?
If you did your job by bringing your vehicle in to be assessed for a problem or even just for regular maintenance and the mechanic caused or overlooked a problem, you need to be able to link that as the cause of your crash. Every industry has standards to follow to show the job being done was within the range of acceptable behavior or performance. Showing a deviation from that range is where you get into proving an injury was based on negligence.
The criteria you’ll need to meet includes showing:
- The mechanic owed you a duty, which is typically represented in this instance by a business relationship where you paid for professional repair services.
- The duty you were owed was breached by doing a poor job.
- That poor job ended in a car accident that injured you or someone else.
- Damages you suffered because of the injuries sustained.
What are mechanics responsible for?
Repair shops have an obligation – or duty, as it’s known in law – to make sure your vehicle is leaving their hands in good repair. At the very least they must inform you of the maintenance you need performed to make your automobile road safe. If you choose to drive off without making the necessary repairs after being given notice, the mechanic is likely going to be off the hook at that point as you made a conscious choice to drive an unsafe vehicle and it caused harm to someone else.
However, if you gave a shop the go-ahead to fix your vehicle and they did a poor job, they can be held liable if the cause of your accident can be tied to their negligent work. For example, if you had new tires put on and the technician failed to properly secure one causing it to fly off while you were doing 70 on the highway, any damage or injuries as a result of that failure on the mechanic’s part could make them the defendant in a personal injury claim.
Ways a mechanic can breach the duty of care
When an accident happens that can be drawn back to a mechanical failure after you’ve serviced your vehicle, there are several dangerous issues that could have been caused by work performed in a negligent manner.
Having your car inspected by an expert after the accident can help prove the technician erred by:
- Installing recalled tires or failing to properly inflate and balance them, which can affect the handling of your vehicle.
- Poor brake installation and/or neglecting to pump up the brakes can cause a crash.
- Using the wrong fluids or forgetting to replace caps for fluids in engine blocks, which can cause engines to overheat and seize.
- Over-torquing, which can cause nuts and bolts to break.
- Using cheaper parts on your vehicle without your approval, which can be unreliable and cause serious problems.
- Having untrained or unqualified employees make repairs.
- Uncovering an obvious but undiagnosed defect with your vehicle.
Once the breach has been established, the hard work begins by showing how the mechanic’s behavior resulted in injuries to you or other victims involved in the accident. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference between you suffering financially by paying for everything out of your own pocket and recovering a settlement or award that will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Auto accident victims in East Tennessee can rely on the professional legal representation of the Maryville car accident attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. To schedule your free consultation today, please call a caring member of our legal team at 865-982-8060, or feel free to complete our contact form.