Can You Bring Legal Action Against the Shop or Mechanic?
One of the keys to minimizing the risk of a motor vehicle accident is regular maintenance of your vehicle—for example, making certain brakes are functioning well and that your car will respond properly in an emergency. But what if mistakes by a mechanic cause you to crash? What if brakes are installed incorrectly, or a mechanic fails to properly secure the lug nuts when rotatingyour tires? Can you bring legal action against the mechanic or garage for injuries or property damage?
The simple answer is that you can always bring legal action to recover losses caused by someone else’s negligence. In practice, though, it can be difficult to establish that the mechanic was negligent and that the negligence caused your accident.
To succeed with a negligence claim, you must show that the defendant (the party from whom you are seeking compensation) failed to act as a reasonable person would, or in other words, that they “breached” the standard of care expected. That standard is not set forth in a statute but is usually determined by a jury. In a lawsuit, the jury looks at the conduct of the defendant and asks, “Did the defendant act as a reasonable person would?” If the answer is no, the defendant may be liable.
To find the defendant responsible, the jury also must determine that the failure to meet the standard of care caused an accident. Issues of causation often come up with respect to finding a mechanic or repair shop liable. Is there credible evidence to show that the accident would not have happened but for the mechanic’s carelessness? Did any other factors intervene and cause the accident?
If you can show that the mechanic acted negligently, and that the breach of the duty of care caused your accident, you have a good chance of recovering from the shop, as well as the mechanic. Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, an employer is typically responsible for the negligence of an employee acting in the ordinary performance of his or her job.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. We are currently communicating with clients by phone, text message, e-mail, and videoconference. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.
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