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Can Repair Shops Be Liable for an Accident Caused by Poor Maintenance?

Houston Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one get into an accident, you either have to get your vehicle repaired or replaced. Most people are able to get their vehicles repaired and get back on the road, and we generally trust the mechanics and auto repair shops to help. However, there are times when mechanics make mistakes or fail to properly address a major safety issue with the vehicle. Auto repair shops and mechanics could be held responsible if their negligent actions or inaction cause an accident and subsequent injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving injury, death or property damage, you should contact a Houston car accident attorney for legal advice.

Proving Auto Repair Shop or Mechanic Negligence

It can be challenging to prove that an auto repair shop or mechanic was negligent in their duties and that their negligence led to an injury or fatality. However, if you or a loved one have been harmed and believe a mechanic is responsible for causing the injury, you should work to determine if any of the following may be true:

  • The repair did not get completed as requested or as expected
  • Defective parts were installed or used for the repair
  • Parts of the vehicle were unnecessarily altered or removed
  • The mechanic caused additional damage when completing the repair
  • The mechanic performed an illegal modification to the vehicle
  • The repair shop or mechanic failed to notice a visible or known safety hazard
  • The repair shop allowed unqualified individuals to perform work on the vehicle

The Elements of a Negligence Claim

In order for a claim against a mechanic or auto repair shop to be successful, it will be necessary to prove the four elements of negligence were present:

  1. Duty. First, there must have been a duty of care owed by the mechanic or shop toward the vehicle owner or leaseholder. When using a reputable shop, this duty of care typically begins when the work to be completed is agreed upon and the keys are handed over.
  2. Breach. If there was a duty of care present, the next step is to determine if the mechanic breached their duty of care to the injury victim. This can include any of the items on the list above or some other action or inaction that led to the issue that caused the injury.
  3. Causation. If it is determined that there was a breach of duty, it must be shown that the breach led to the injuries or fatality. For example, if an accident occurred because someone failed to retighten lug nuts on a vehicle, it needs to be shown that the mechanic failed to tighten the lug nuts.
  4. Damages. Lastly, it must be shown that the injury victim or family of a deceased individual suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the incident.

Compensation That May be Available

Various types of compensation may be available for victims harmed due to mechanic or repair shop negligence in Texas. This includes economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages involve the relatively calculable losses a victim is likely to endure due to the incident, including medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage expenses, and more. Non-economic damages involve less directly calculable losses, but those that are equally as important. This can include various types of physical and emotional pain and suffering losses.

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