Friday, June 10, 2016

A Mechanic Caused My Car Accident – What To Do?

Auto Mechanic Caused Car Accident
Bad Mechanic Caused Car Accident

Have you recently had your car in for service, and it came back in worse condition than when you dropped it off? What if you dropped it off for service and came back to a transmission that was not working properly, but it was just fine when you gave it to them? What if a negligent mechanic caused an issue that lead to your car accident? Believe it or not, this sort of thing happens all the time. Of course, the mechanic will state that the vehicle has previous damages, but you wonder if you have any legal recourse to rectify this situation. It comes down to a "he-said-she-said" kind of war, but you do have options.

You need to decide what kind of claim you want to file in an attempt to get your car fixed. Having a car accident lawyer is imperative through this process, but the type of attorney you hire will be dependent upon the kind of claim you file. The burden of proof is on you, and you must prove to the courts that the auto shop was negligent and messed up your car. A knowledgeable legal representative can help to walk you through the legal elements and the cause of action that need to be established.


Breach of Duty

There are two different causes of action that can be used in this situation; breach of contract and or negligence. When you drop your car off to the mechanic to be fixed, you have a verbal contract that they will do the work for a certain price. If they do not perform the work according to your contract, you can sue them on these grounds. If there is a warranty on the car and they were supposed to provide service for warranty repairs, you may have grounds for a breach of warranty suit. It may become legally complicated due to the fact that you do not have a contract for the actual transmission work, but rather the car was there for another job. If they fixed the other problem without issue, then it is going to be hard to prove breach of contract. It may be classified as a breach of duty if the other work was done right.

Negligence

Another angle that could be used to sue the mechanic is negligence. The theory behind this idea is that the mechanic had a duty to repair the car without causing any further problems. Causing further damage to the car falls under breach of duty. There are a couple of matters to overcome to prove this matter legally, like causation and damages. The damage part should be easy to figure because it is the amount it would take to get the transmission fixed. The complication will be proving causation.

The theory behind the negligence claim is that the mechanic caused damage to the car while working on another item. The mechanic will say that he did not cause any damages. A mechanic will say either the damages were preexisting, or they do not exist at all. The burden of proof is on you to show the court that the mechanic caused the damages, and it is going to be hard to prove.

In these instances, you need more than just your word to back up your claim. Have another auto professional inspect the vehicle. Get a written report about their opinion on what caused the damages. Though a written report it great, you are going to need more. Make sure this mechanic will be willing to stand beside you as an expert witness in court. Testimony is important as a written document is considered to be hearsay.

Weighing Your Options

You have some options in how you can handle this matter. First, try talking to the mechanic or their boss. If possible, go over their head to a corporate office. The owner may be willing to help with some or all of the expenses for your vehicle's repairs. If it is a national chain that has many locations, the corporate office may be able to help. Sometimes, a corporate office wants to try to avoid any negative publicity so they will try to help. You need to complete the following steps:
  • Contacting Mechanic Directly
  • Going over Their Head to a Corporate Office
  • Getting Someone to Verify What and How the Damages Were Caused
  • Possibly Contacting Small Claims or State Agency
  • Either Paying for Damages Out Of Your Own Pocket or Heading to Court


When to Go To the State Level

You may want to get the Office of the Attorney General involved. If you think that your vehicle was damaged intentionally, this office can help you handle consumer issues. If the damages are less than $10,000, you may want to pursue the claim in small claims court. You may or may not be able to bring legal representation to court with you based on the rules for your area.
Finally, suing the mechanic should be a last resort when all else has failed. Remember, litigation is quite expensive and can cost more than the repairs on the car. At Cantor Crane, http://cantorcrane.com , we can help you decide what the best course of action is for your case.