According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 94 percent of traffic accidents occur due to driver error. Generally, a car accident case in which another driver is responsible for your damages and losses is relatively easily resolved. However, what happens if your accident occurred due to a car defect caused by a negligent mechanic?
If a mechanic's oversight or carelessness caused your accident and damages, you are generally entitled to compensation. Car repair shops typically carry insurance for these types of claims. Consulting with an auto repair lawyer can be crucial, however, as proving negligence and recovering your due may be challenging when a mechanic is at fault for your accident. Call the experienced attorneys at Labrum Law Firm to visit with us for free about your case today at (615) 338-9500.
What Constitutes Defective Mechanic Work?
Since a defective car can put lives at risk, car mechanics are required to use a reasonable standard of care when making repairs to your vehicle and other vehicles on the roadway. A car mechanic should always use the standard of knowledge, professionalism, and skills of his profession for repairing and servicing a car. A reasonable standard of care should include:
- Ensuring that the repaired or serviced car is safe to drive
- Replacing or repairing parts with the skills and knowledge expected of a mechanic
- Not making unnecessary repairs and alterations
- Not making any repairs that the customer did not authorize
Examples of Defective Mechanic Work
Defective mechanic work can include inadequate repairs and repairs that were not performed at all. Common examples of defective work on a vehicle may include:
- Installing a wrong part
- Failing to repair a damaged part adequately
- Failing to notice urgently needed repairs
- Permitting an unqualified mechanic to change or repair parts
- Damaging parts of the vehicle during the repair
- Illegally modifying a vehicle
Proving a Mechanic's Negligence
To have a case and recover damages, an individual must prove that the mechanic acted without a reasonable standard of care, causing injuries and property damage to the claimant as a result.
Negligence in a personal injury lawsuit involves proving the following four elements:
- Duty of Care - The mechanic had a duty of care towards their customer
- Breach - The mechanic breached duty of care with defective repair work
- Causation – The breach of duty directly caused the victim's accident and injury
- Damages – The victim incurred damages such as injuries and car damage
Proving that your mechanic acted negligently and caused your damages can be legally complicated and challenging. Moreover, repair shops will fight any claims and try to deny liability for your accident and damages, and may even claim that the accident was your fault or the fault of another driver involved in the crash. However, an auto repair lawyer from Labrum Law Firm could help you prove that a repair was not performed with a reasonable standard of care and caused your losses. Contact us today to discuss your case, and ensure your legal rights remain protected.
You Will Need Evidence Proving Negligence
While you may be convinced that a defective repair job is responsible for your crash, you will have to provide relevant evidence to prove negligence in court. Evidence that can prove a mechanic's negligence can include:
- Photographs of faulty parts and repairs
- Records of the repair works performed
- Expert witness testimony
- Accident reports
Make sure to keep all documents relating to your vehicle's repair, such as invoices, warranties for parts, work orders, and other documents. One of our experienced auto repair lawyers can help with gathering the relevant evidence proving your claim and ensure that all evidence related to your claim is preserved through a spoliation letter.
Proving Faulty Repair
Generally, it is less challenging to pursue damages for the defective repair itself rather than an accident. For example, if your vehicle was damaged by a faulty repair job and needed further repair work to put the damage right, you could potentially seek compensation for the cost of repair and have your car fixed elsewhere.
Establishing that a faulty repair led to a car accident, on the other hand, can be much more legally challenging to prove. The defendant, a mechanic or repair shop, and their insurance company, will likely fight aggressively to deny your claim, arguing that the bad repair job did not cause your accident. Even if you and your lawyer successfully establish that a faulty repair job contributed to your accident, the repair shop or mechanic will try to minimize their degree of fault.
Tennessee uses a comparative fault system, whereby each party is assigned a degree of fault. If you are deemed to be more than 50 percent at fault for your accident, you will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Since a judge or jury assigns the percentage of fault in a lawsuit, having an experienced auto repair lawyer argue your case can be beneficial.
The Mechanic Is Not Always Liable
A mechanic or repair shop is not always liable for a car defect and resulting accident. If a mechanic advised their customer about a repair, but the customer ignores the advice and refuses to have the necessary work done, a mechanic will not be liable. For example, if your car repair shop advised you to change worn tires and you decided to wait with replacing the tires, the mechanic is not responsible for any accidents resulting from the worn tires.
Additionally, if there is a defective part or component placed on the vehicle, the liability for the defective part may rest with the manufacturer or distributor of that part that malfunctioned. These types of claims are called product liability claims, and can also prove legally complicated and challenging for victims.
How Labrum Law Firm Can Help
Dealing with a potentially complicated case, such as proving a mechanic's defective repair work caused your damages, can feel stressful and overwhelming. Labrum Law Firm can help. If you think you have a case against a mechanic or repair shop due to negligent repair, you should consider contacting us as soon as possible to find out about filing a lawsuit. As per Tennessee Code Section §28-3-104, you generally only have one year to initiate legal action and receive compensation for your damages.
An experienced lawyer from our law firm can review your case, advise you comprehensively on your legal options, and pursue compensation for your accident and injuries. We can help you recover the necessary evidence to prove your case and your damages, and represent you aggressively in court. In the first instance, we offer you a free consultation where you can learn about your legal rights and your legal options for recovering what you deserve. Call Labrum Law Firm now to schedule your complimentary case review: (615) 338-9500.