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Can a Mechanic be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

January 26, 2021

Car wrecks cause property damage, personal injuries, and fatalities. There are many factors that can cause an accident or make a collision worse, such as weather conditions, driver error, and mechanical issues. When it comes to issues related to the mechanical operation of a vehicle, the question of a mechanic’s liability arises.

In legal terms, liability refers to an individual or entity who is deemed fully or in part responsible for an event that caused damage or loss. Liability can be based on intentional acts or negligence. For example, a driver who purposefully drives in an unsafe manner violating safety procedures could be held liable for an accident. In the same way, a manufacturer who ignores safety problems could also be liable for injuries. It is possible for a mechanic to be responsible for loss or damages after or during the service of a vehicle.

How can I Prove a Mechanic Caused a Car Accident?

There are certain requirements that must be met in this case. To prove liability of a mechanic, the following must be shown:

  • The mechanic or repair shop owed a duty of care. This means that they were responsible for the care of the vehicle while it was in their possession. This can typically be proven easily with a documented transaction between the mechanic and driver, such as a work agreement or receipt.
  • The mechanic failed to uphold their duty. This will most likely come down to a negligence claim. If it is demonstrated that the mechanic neglected aspects of their job, they are responsible for the outcome.
  • This negligence caused the accident or damages. Negligence is not enough for a case without demonstrable damages.
  • The victim suffered a loss as a result of the accident. This includes medical expenses, loss of vehicle or other personal property, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

Showing legal liability in a car crash case presents more challenges. Considering that there are many potential factors that can cause an accident, it may be hard to prove that the mechanic is directly responsible for the crash. However, mechanics have a duty of care. If they fail to service, diagnose, or repair due to their own negligence and an accident occurs as a result, they can be held legally responsible. 

Can a Car Crash Victim Sue a Mechanic for Misdiagnosis?

A mechanic misdiagnosis is when there is a mistake in determining the problem with a vehicle. This is not uncommon, and generally, it does not result in legal action. In most cases, a mechanic will avoid liability by being honest about the error and correcting it free of charge. However, if a mechanic fails to correct a mistake that they reasonably should have been aware of, they run the risk of a legal issue. If a misdiagnose fails to fix the correct problem, a driver could be in danger of mechanical failure while driving. In this scenario, the mechanic could be liable for any accident that occurs as a result.

To prove liability, however, the victim must show that the mechanic failed to exercise their duty of care. Additionally, the vehicle owner must prove that the faulty diagnosis was foreseeable rather than an issue a reasonable mechanic might miss. In any case, it must be shown that the vehicle suffered quantifiable damage and that this damage was the result of carelessness on the part of the mechanic or repair shop.

Is a Mechanic Liable for a Stolen Vehicle?

The person who stole the car is criminally responsible, however, the shop in this scenario could face liability claims as well. When a mechanic takes possession of a vehicle for repairs, they take responsibility for it. If they take all reasonable and necessary precautions, they will not likely be held responsible. If they neglect safety and security, for example, leaving the keys in an unlocked vehicle, they can be held partially responsible for a theft. 

What if a Mechanic Damages a Vehicle While it is Being Repaired?

Sometimes, a vehicle may suffer unforeseen and accidental damage during a repair. The mechanic is responsible for such damage, however, taking immediate legal action may not be the best course of action. Most repair shops will have insurance to cover damages in situations like this. A car owner has the option to sue either the shop or the individual mechanic or both for damages.

It is best to directly speak to the mechanic in this scenario. The mechanic should repair, at no additional cost, any damage. If the repair shop refuses to fix their mistake, it may be time to contact a lawyer for assistance.

Huntsville Car Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Clients Get Compensation for Damages After Car Wrecks

If you were seriously injured in a car accident and you think you may have a liability claim, you may be eligible for compensation. It may be hard to determine that a mechanic caused your collision, but we can help you with your case. Contact a Huntsville car accident lawyer at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. if you need compensation after your collision. Complete our online form or call us at 256-539-3110 for a free consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we proudly serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.