Holding Mechanics and Vehicle Owners Accountable for Faulty Maintenance Leading to Wrecks
When you take your vehicle to an auto shop, you trust that the mechanics working on your car will fix your vehicle and ensure all parts and systems are in working order. What happens if a mechanic’s faulty fix causes you to lose control of your car, resulting in a car crash? This is not just a theoretical issue; it has happened in South Carolina.
According to a recent news report, A woman took her vehicle to a Mount Pleasant mechanic for routine maintenance. After her car appointment, she proceeded to hop onto Highway 17 North but spun out of control and collided with the median. The car eventually came to a stop facing ongoing traffic. The poor woman experienced sheer terror. Shortly after the incident, the woman realized her rear tires had been ripped off her vehicle.
Police officers began investigating the incident and quickly determined that the cause of the wreck may have resulted from the mechanic’s work earlier in the day. Once the officers arrived at the auto shop, the mechanic admitted that he had forgotten to tighten the lug nuts on the woman’s tires.
How Common Are Equipment-Related Car Accidents?
According to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration report, vehicle issues with tires, brakes, and steering systems make up about 60 percent of all equipment-related car accidents. In another study, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discovered that brake problems caused around 41,000 large truck crashes and tire problems caused 8,000.
Although an auto shop is responsible for their work, the vehicle owner also bears the burden of ensuring their truck or car is safe to drive on the road.
A common tire problem is tire blowout, which can be caused by overinflation or underinflation. Although underinflation can occur due to fluctuating temperatures or daily driving, overinflation can cause dangerous incidents. When a vehicle’s tire psi goes past the manufacturer’s recommendation, there is a higher risk of tires exploding, causing crashes or injuring those around at the moment.
Overinflation affects traction and turning ability. If a driver goes over a pothole on the street or uneven pavement near a construction site, they can lose control and inflict severe injuries to themselves and other drivers on the road. According to The South Carolina Department of Public Safety 2019 Traffic Collision Fact Book, 723 collisions occurred due to tires and wheels.
It is up to vehicle owners to routinely check their tire pressure by using a pressure gauge, visiting an auto shop to rotate their tires, and purchasing new tires when recommended. Failure to maintain one’s car can result in a serious personal injury case.
Can Mechanics Be Held Liable for Faulty Repair Work?
Yes, mechanics and auto repair shops may be liable for an accident caused by negligent work under personal injury law. Through careful analysis, the at-fault party may be held responsible if the injured party can prove:
- The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care,
- The at-fault party violated the duty owed to the victim,
- The at-fault party’s actions were the cause of or contributed to the victim’s injuries; and
- The victim suffered legally recognizable damages.
In the context of mechanic lawsuits, mechanic shop owners owe a duty to their customers and other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the road. When it comes to assessing whether a mechanic owes a duty to another party, the question is one of “foreseeability.” In other words, was it foreseeable that a mechanic’s poor repair job could have injured another motorist? Well, it is possible. Mechanics owe drivers a duty of care to prevent faulty maintenance accidents.
Because mechanics may have overlooked a repair job or did not fully complete one, they may argue that they are not at fault. Pursuing the negligent party and recovering compensation is not always easy. For example, one issue that frequently comes up in these cases is causation. To succeed in a personal injury claim against a mechanic, an accident victim must prove that the mechanic’s negligence caused the accident resulting in their injuries.
Although this is straightforward in some cases—such as in the accident discussed above—this will not always be the case. Suppose the lady waited to report three days after the mechanic worked on her vehicle? Ten days? A month? Six months? It is important to note that the longer you wait to report the repair incident and your accident, the harder it will be to prove that the mechanic’s negligence was the reason for the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident Caused by Faulty Repair Work?
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a Charleston car accident and you have reason to believe the accident resulted from shoddy repair work, reach out to the Steinberg Law Firm. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have been representing injured people since 1927, helping them recover significant compensation for everything they have been through. We offer all prospective clients a free consultation, during which we will answer your questions, outline the recovery process, and explain how we can help. We also do not charge a fee unless we collect compensation for you. To learn more and schedule a free consultation today, call (843) 720-2800 today. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.