Who is Responsible for Negligent Auto Repair?
Summary: Most people think of dangerous vehicles as a result of bad manufacturing. That assumption makes sense. From dangerous airbags to faulty ignition switches, automakers repeatedly sell consumers vehicles containing defective parts that threaten motorists’ safety. But vehicle accidents caused by mechanical flaws can be due to other culprits. Automobile mechanics perform a much-needed service to car owners. They service our vehicles, diagnose problems, change our oil and repair our vehicles.
They can also get things wrong. On one given visit to the auto shop, a vehicle might be worked on by several different mechanics, and any one of these individuals can make a critical misstep that puts your safety in jeopardy.
What Can Go Wrong in Auto Shops?
Typically, there are two general problems that might stem from auto repair. The first is a failure to address the issue you wanted fixed. Maybe your vehicle is stalling when traveling at low speeds. You take your car to the shop and pay a hefty sum to have it fixed. After getting back on the road, you soon realize that the mechanic didn’t actually solve the problem.
The second potential mistake that a mechanic might make is to cause a problem unrelated to the original reason you sought their services. For example, your vehicle is running well, but you've gone five thousand miles since you had the oil changed, so you dutifully head to your local automotive shop to have it serviced. Once you leave the shop, however, your engine overheats, starts smoking on the highway and you’re left calling for a ride.
Mechanics can fail to fix a problem or create new ones. The nature of your vehicle’s problem has a lot to do with liability should the defect cause an accident and injury.
Who is Responsible?
Determining liability can be complex, and product liability and vehicle accident attorneys will generally look at every potential avenue to determine who to name in a lawsuit for injured clients. If there was a defect and the mechanic tried in vain to fix a problem, the manufacturer will likely be the prime suspect for liability. If the defect was caused entirely by the mechanic, then the mechanic or the auto body shop will likely be named in a lawsuit.
Sometimes, several parties share liability and an attorney will advise naming multiple defendants. It’s important to understand that liability doesn’t imply malice or ill will. Clearly, no automaker or mechanic sets out to cause a motorist harm; but if they make mistakes that threaten the lives or safety of their customers, they should be held accountable for the harm customers have suffered.
What Should Consumers Do if They Suspect Negligent Auto Repair?
If you believe an auto repair shop or a specific mechanic caused a problem with your vehicle, you should take your vehicle back to the shop and tell them about the suspected error. They should fix the problem at no cost. You an also complain to the shop’s owner or head office.
If the auto shop’s error led to a vehicle accident, then you should contact an attorney. Once an accident and injury are introduced into the equation, the stakes become much greater for the car owner and the auto shop. The car owner will need to file a claim for compensation, and the auto repair shop will likely have their own legal team and insurance company that could potentially dispute the claims made by their customer.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of a dangerous vehicle or faulty repair, contact an attorney to learn more about your legal options. Many firms offer free consultations to give you an assessment of your case’s potential for success.
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