Automobile Mechanic Liability Lawyers
When your automobile requires maintenance or service, you probably will take it to an auto mechanic.
What Duties Does a Mechanic Have?
When you leave your car with a mechanic for repair or service, you have a bailment relationship with him. As a result, the mechanic must:
- Treat your car with a reasonable standard of care until you pick it up.
- Make repairs in a skillful, careful, and workmanlike manner. He must have the ordinary skills of other mechanics.
- Inspect your car to make sure that it is not a danger to the driver or other driver and repair the car to make it safe for use.
- Give a written estimate and receive authorization before doing any repair work, in many states. In these places, even if the mechanic does excellent work and charges a reasonable price, the mechanic cannot recover for his work because he gave no estimate.
- Not engage in fraud, concealment, lowballing, or bait and switch.
- Not make unauthorized or unnecessary repairs.
When is the Mechanic Liable for Damages from Repairs?
A mechanic is liable for damages if you suffer damages as a result of negligent repairs. For example, if the mechanic uses the wrong parts or misplaces a part, and then your engine explodes when you start the car, the mechanic is liable. It does not matter if you already paid the bill and find out about a problem later. The mechanic is still liable. However, if the mechanic offers to correct his negligent repairs at no cost, and you choose not to, you cannot claim that he caused you damage because you failed to have the problem fixed. Also, you cannot cause the damage through your own negligence or assumption of risk.
What About the Contents of My Car?
A mechanic is only responsible for the safekeeping of items inside your car if he knows they are inside. Otherwise, the mechanic is not liable if they are damaged or stolen.
What if my Car is Stolen from the Repair Shop?
In general, the mechanic is not responsible for the theft of your car from his repair shop unless his negligence caused the theft. The mechanic has to do or forget to do something that leads to your car being stolen. For example, if the mechanic leaves the keys in your unlocked car and parks it on the street, he is responsible if someone steals it.
What About Disclaimers?
Mechanics will often try to disclaim their liability by posting signs or including disclaimers on contracts. These disclaimers are ineffective if you do not agree to the terms or were never made aware of such terms. Additionally, a mechanic cannot disclaim his negligence or that of his employees. For example, the mechanic would be liable for damages if an employee negligently starts a fire in the repair shop that destroys your car.
Should I Contact a Lawyer About my Problem With a Mechanic?
If your car has been damaged by a mechanic or improperly repaired, a lawyer can advise you of your rights and remedies.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-04-2012 03:50 PM PST