Can a Mechanic Be Liable For a Car Accident?

Most car accidents are the result of driver negligence, but mechanical failures can also lead to serious accidents. Mechanics have a responsibility to their customers to exercise reasonable care when repairing or servicing their vehicles. If they fail to uphold their duty of care and that failure results in an accident, the mechanic could be held liable for the injuries and other damages arising from their negligence. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a mechanical failure and you suspect your mechanic’s negligence played a role, reach out to the experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to discuss your potential case. 

What Causes Mechanical Failure Car Accidents?

Most mechanical failure accidents are caused by faulty brakes. This is especially true in accidents involving oversized commercial trucks. Other reasons for mechanical failure collisions are:  

  • Replacing used tires with other used tires
  • Tires that are improperly inflated
  • Mismatched tires
  • Turn indicators not working
  • Brake lights not working
  • Damage to a component of the braking system
  • Damage to the steering system

When is a Mechanic Liable?

Virginia drivers are responsible for making sure their vehicles are properly maintained, repaired, and able to be operated safely and in accordance with the law. If a driver satisfies this requirement and a mechanical failure takes place, the mechanic could be answerable for the resulting crash. 

Every day, tens of thousands of drivers rely on mechanics to make necessary vehicle repairs and perform routine maintenance that aligns with professional standards and ensures that no mechanical issues will arise on the road. Although some repair shops post disclaimers that absolve them of liability should a car they repair be involved in a collision, a piece of paper hanging on a shop wall is unlikely to be legally binding and even less likely to hold up if challenged in court.

For a mechanic or their employer to be liable for your damages, you will need to prove that:

  • The mechanic or their employer owed you a duty of care (proof of the transaction between you and the shop)  
  • The mechanic or their employer breached this duty by committing negligence 
  • Their negligence was the direct cause of your accident
  • As a result of the accident, you incurred damages (medical bills, lost earnings, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, etc.)

What Are Some Examples of Negligent Repairs?

Examples of negligent vehicle maintenance or repairs include:

  • Buying and installing the wrong part
  • Repairing vehicles using defective parts  
  • Damage any part of a vehicle while servicing it
  • Making unnecessary or erroneous repairs 
  • Failing to identify what repairs a vehicle needs
  • Allowing unqualified or untrained mechanics to work on vehicles
  • Making illegal modifications to vehicles
  • Failing to remove foreign objects and debris from a vehicle

When drivers take their vehicles to a repair shop or neighborhood mechanic for repairs or maintenance, they trust that their vehicles will be properly assessed, repaired, and safe to drive. Unfortunately, mechanics can and do make mistakes. They can potentially fail to secure a tire properly, overlook a mechanical problem, or make any number of other errors that could cause a car accident. If the victim is able to prove negligence, the mechanic or their employer could be held accountable. 

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

If you suspect that negligent maintenance or repairs led to your accident and subsequent injuries, reach out to the qualified Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have been achieving successful outcomes in Virginia car accident cases since 1985, like the $1 million insurance settlement we obtained for a client who was injured when a turning driver crashed into his car. To schedule a free case review, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online contact form. We have offices in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.