Negligent Auto Repair
Auto repair shops must abide by certain industry-wide standards when they repair vehicles. While many mechanics are careful to comply with these rules and make careful repairs, others do not, and the results can be devastating. Fortunately, car owners who are injured because their vehicles were negligently repaired can recover damages from the at-fault party, so if your vehicle was negligently repaired and you were injured in an accident as a result, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you file a claim.
Common Examples of Negligent Repairs
Making substandard repairs can lead to additional vehicle damage and can actually make a car unsafe to operate. There are a variety of ways that a mechanic can perform negligent repair work, but the most common include:
- Completely failing to make necessary repairs;
- Installing an incorrect replacement part;
- Damaging other parts of the car while making repairs;
- Performing unnecessary repairs;
- Failing to identify obvious problems with the car;
- Allowing unqualified or untrained employees to work on a car;
- Illegally modifying a vehicle’s parts; and
- Leaving foreign objects or debris in the vehicle’s engine.
Even when an auto shop is obviously at fault for making a shoddy repair, plaintiffs must still prove that:
- The auto shop owed them a duty of care, which is established when the customer-auto shop relationship is formed;
- The auto shop breached that duty by acting carelessly in connection with the servicing of the vehicle; and
- The car’s owner suffered damage or another loss as a result of the auto shop’s breach.
Unfortunately, demonstrating fault can be problematic, even if there is clear evidence of what caused an accident to occur. For instance, if a person took his or her car in to have the brakes serviced and the auto shop claims that the owner needs new brake pads, but installs the incorrect type, causing the driver to collide with another car, the injured party would need to prove that the brake pads installed by the auto shop were incorrect. This can become more difficult after a significant amount of time passes, as auto shops may argue that the car’s owner made additional modifications for which they were not responsible. Shops accused of negligent repairs also often raise the argument that the problem with the car was new or was otherwise unrelated to their repairs. They may even claim that an accident was not attributable to the repairs, but to the driver’s own actions. In both cases, the injured party may need to provide evidence from traffic cameras, eyewitnesses, and experts who can help prove that not only was the driver not at fault, but that the improper repairs can be directly linked to the collision.
In the event that an auto shop’s negligent repairs did not cause an accident, the car’s owner could still collect compensation to pay for additional repairs if it is later discovered that the repairs were improperly performed or that they caused additional damage to the vehicle.
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