Many injured car accident plaintiffs mistakenly believe that their lawsuit will progress in a simple and straightforward manner. This is natural, of course. They may approach the case with their own understanding of what transpired, and who is responsible for their damages. In truth, however, a car accident lawsuit can develop in a rather non-standard fashion (depending on the circumstances), which can take a plaintiff by surprise.
In the car accident context, one of the various non-standard possibilities for recovery is the negligence of a mechanic/auto shop. Drivers trust their mechanics to perform comprehensive inspections and to correct defects as they are discovered, or to — at the very least — notify them as to the existence of such defects. If a mechanic fails to do so, then they could be held liable for the damages suffered in a subsequent car accident.
How does this all work? Let’s take a closer look.
Negligent Inspection and Maintenance Basics
Mechanics have a duty to properly inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles that have been entrusted to them (for such services). If a mechanic fails to exercise reasonable care in inspecting a vehicle (and thereby fails to identify a defect), or performs a negligent repair using substandard parts, then that may give rise to liability in the event that it contributes to a car accident later on.
It’s worth noting that a mechanic’s liability (for negligence) can generally be imposed on their employer, the auto repair shop, through the application of vicarious liability principles. This can be handy given that the auto repair shop may have more substantial insurance coverage and may be more willing to negotiate a fair settlement due to having a business reputation to protect.
“Industry Standards” May Be a Sticking Point
Central to the negligence consideration is an evaluation of the standard of care. Mechanics may only be held liable for their actions if they violated the standard of care. The standard of care is dependent on a number of factors, which includes typical conduct in the industry under similar circumstances.
For example, suppose that your mechanic verbally notifies you about a defect they found with the engine. You might try to argue that the mechanic should have given you written, formal notice of the defect, but the mechanic could potentially defend themselves by arguing that verbal notification is the industry standard.
Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for Guidance on Your Claims
Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm that exclusively handles motor vehicle lawsuits on behalf of injured plaintiffs.
Our team of attorneys has many decades of experience representing those who have suffered harm in a range of motor vehicle accident scenarios — this includes complex and non-standard matters that may involve the negligence of a third-party, such as a mechanic/auto shop that fails to properly maintain your vehicle. This specialized approach to personal injury litigation has given us deep insight into what it takes to successfully obtain compensation for our clients. Over the years, we have secured substantial results in motor vehicle accident cases, through negotiated settlements and trial verdicts alike.
Interested in learning about your case and what you can do moving forward? Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.