You trust mechanics to keep your vehicles in safe, working order. Most of the time, mechanics do a good job; they get your car up and running, and you never think twice about the repair. However, what happens if an auto mechanic negligently performs the repair or causes some other problem while working on your vehicle? If the car starts and you can drive it home, would you even know? Chances are, you’d have no idea until something went wrong. This can lead to an incredibly dangerous situation which may lead to a Louisville car accident.
Automobile Mechanics Liability
Under state law, mechanics may be liable for injuries caused to customers or third parties related to faulty repair work. Thus, if a mechanic negligently performed repairs on your vehicle and you got into an accident as a result, you can pursue a legal claim against the auto mechanic.
Automobile mechanic liability is based on the legal theory of negligence. When bringing a negligence claim against a mechanic, or any other party, you must demonstrate the following elements.
The mechanic owed you a duty of care. This is typically not at issue, as the scope of a mechanic’s duty to a customer is clearly understood to include safely performing all necessary repairs. For example, if you take your car to get the brakes fixed, the mechanic has a duty to perform the requested job and inform you of any related issues. However, the question of duty can be a bit harder to determine in certain situations. For example, if you take your car for new windshield wipers, your mechanic may not necessarily have a duty to check your brakes to ensure they are in safe, working order.
The breach element requires you to prove that the mechanic violated the duty of care they owed to you. Often, determining whether a breach occurred involves looking at industry standards, such as what other mechanics would do in a similar situation.
The causation element of an automobile mechanics liability claim is often the most contested and hardest to establish. To prove causation, you must show that the mechanic’s breach of the duty owed to you resulted in your injuries. While this may be straightforward in some situations, typically, this would require a detailed investigation into the specific cause of the accident. For example, if you are involved in a Louisville car accident after your brakes fail, you would need to present proof that the brake failure would not have happened if not for the mechanic’s negligence and also that the brake failure was the cause of the accident.
Finally, you need to prove that you suffered damages due to the injuries you suffered at the hands of the negligent mechanic. In most automobile mechanics liability cases, this is not difficult, as car accidents almost always result in personal injury and property damage. However, it is imperative to identify the full extent of your damages to ensure you are fairly compensated.
What Is Garage Liability Insurance?
By law, auto mechanic shops must purchase garage liability insurance, which covers the costs related to accidents caused by faulty repairs and other acts of negligence. While this is a good thing in that it ensures that you don’t end up pursuing a claim against an insolvent mechanic, it also means that an insurance company will be the one defending against your claim. Insurance companies that write garage liability claims are well-versed in this type of claim and have specialized lawyers whose sole purpose is to argue against your claim. This highlights the importance of working with a dedicated Louisville car accident attorney when pursuing an automobile mechanics liability claim.
The Importance of a Thorough Investigation
One of the most challenging aspects of an automobile mechanics liability claim is proving that the mechanic’s faulty repair or other negligent actions were the cause of the accident. Often, tying the mechanic’s actions to your injuries is challenging, as the accident may not occur for days, weeks, or even months after the mechanic worked on your car. In such cases, this allows the mechanic to argue that any number of other issues caused your injuries.
A dedicated Louisville personal injury lawyer can be a critical asset in conducting the necessary investigation to tie a mechanic’s negligence to your injuries. A personal injury attorney will know where to look for evidence that faulty repairs caused the accident. This may require consulting with an expert witness, who can explain the accident and its likely causes in scientific terms.
Be on the Lookout for Claims of Comparative Fault
Another issue that frequently comes up when you seek to hold a mechanic liable for faulty repairs is a mechanic’s claim that you shared responsibility for your injuries. Under the Texas doctrine of modified comparative negligence, the court will reduce your damages award by your own percentage of fault. And if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for your injuries, then you cannot recover compensation from any other party, including a negligent mechanic. For example, a mechanic may argue any of the following contributed to your injuries:
- You failed to perform recommended repairs;
- You failed to conduct regular maintenance on the vehicle;
- Your own negligence caused the car accident; or
- Another driver’s negligence caused the accident.
A personal injury lawyer can help address these potential defenses. For example, if another motorist played a role in causing the accident, it is important that you name them as a defendant in your lawsuit. Otherwise, the mechanic may avoid liability by shifting blame onto the non-present party.
Contact an Experienced Louisville Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Auto Mechanic Liability Claim
If you were recently injured in a Louisville car accident, it may have been due to your mechanic’s negligence. However, you may not know what caused the accident, and proving that a mechanic’s faulty repairs were responsible can be challenging. The Louisville car accident lawyers at the Gladstein Law Firm can help. We have more than 20 years of experience helping accident victims obtain the compensation they need and deserve. We know what it takes to go up against even the largest insurance companies. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our dedicated injury lawyers, give us a call, or you can contact us through our online form. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so there is no risk in calling because you will not be responsible for any legal fees unless we can help you recover money damages for your injuries.