auto repair liable accident

A vehicle that is in good working condition is vital to ensure the safety of the person who uses it. When our vehicles develop some mechanical glitch, the auto repair shop can usually help us correct the problem. While most auto repair shops do a thorough check of the vehicle, there may be car repair shops in NYC that are negligent in their work.

Data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that fraud and negligence in auto repair cases rank high on the list of consumer complaints. This indicates that there are a significant number of auto mechanics that behave in an irresponsible manner and their actions pose a grave risk to everyone on the road.

If you get injured in a car accident in New York and an investigation shows that the accident was caused due to a technical snag that was not repaired by the auto repair shop, they can be held liable for the injuries that resulted from the auto repair car accident.

What Types of Negligence in Auto Repair Can Cause NY Accidents?

While most repair shops in New York City are responsible in their actions, there may quite a few service providers who try to get away with inferior quality work. In some cases, even a responsible auto repair shop may end up causing damage if one of their employees has been negligent in their actions. Here are a few examples of negligent work by auto repair mechanics:

  • Lack of sufficient inspection of the vehicle due to which major problems are not noted and corrected
  • Failing to effect a total repair of parts that may be worn out or broken
  • Replacing a defective or damaged part with an incorrect one
  • Damaging the engine or any other vehicle part in the course of the repair work
  • Using a wrong procedure for vehicle maintenance or repair
  • Failing to perform a thorough cleaning of the debris that is present in the vehicle following a repair job
  • Carrying out a modification of the vehicle in a manner that renders it illegal for use on a public road

How Can I Establish Liability of the NY Auto Repair Shop?

In order to establish that the auto repair shop was liable for your car accident, it is vital to prove the following conditions existed:

  • That you were owed a duty of care by the auto shop because of the nature of your contract with them for repairs on your vehicle
  • That the auto repair shop failed to meet that duty of care and their actions in servicing your vehicle were careless or negligent
  • That the negligence or carelessness of the auto repair mechanic was the direct cause of the injury or damage or losses you suffered in your vehicle accident

Consider this scenario in which someone visits the auto shop to have their car’s brake pads replaced. After the repair is completed, as they head home, the car’s brakes fail to work and as a result, they collide with another vehicle and suffer a traumatic brain injury. In this situation, if it can be shown that the auto mechanic failed to replace the brake pads in the appropriate manner, they could be held liable for your accident.

When is the Auto Mechanic Shop Not Liable for an NY Car Accident?

If someone has had their car recently serviced or repaired, and they get into an accident soon after, they are quite likely to jump to the conclusion that the auto shop’s negligence led to the accident. This appears even more plausible in situations when an investigation reveals that it was a defective auto part that was responsible for the accident.

However, despite all such evidence, it is quite likely that the auto mechanic may not be held liable for an accident, if it can be shown that the vehicle owner disregarded the mechanic’s advice.

Auto repair mechanics often give their opinion and advice regarding all the repairs that need to be carried out on a vehicle. Vehicle owners sometimes choose to willfully ignore such advice, and fail to authorize the action the repair mechanic advised. If the same vehicle owner then gets into an accident caused due to the same defect that the mechanic pointed out, the auto repair shop cannot be held liable for the accident.

Tips on How to Deal With New York Auto Repair Mechanics

When we interact with auto repair shops, it can be difficult to ensure that our vehicle receives the necessary attention. Here are few tips to follow to make sure that the negligence of the mechanic does not lead to your auto repair car accident in New York:

  • Have your vehicle serviced or repaired only with an auto repair shop that is registered with the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles. This is easy to identify from the green-and-white sign that hangs outside the shop with the words indicating that it is a registered mechanic shop.
  • Get a written estimate of the work they expect to complete on your vehicle. Make sure this includes information of the repairs they will perform, the parts they will replace or service and the estimate expense involved in this process.
  • Give a written authorization to carry out the repair work. Orders given verbally must be recorded on the final invoice.
  • Collect the old or defective parts that were replaced.
  • Scrutinize the repair record given in the invoice. Check to see that every repair and replaced part is mentioned in the invoice you receive.
  • In case the repair shop is offering you a warranty or a guarantee of their repair work, check if the terms and limits of such items are mentioned in clear terms.

You may have noticed that some auto repair shops in New York put up posters with disclaimers stating that they are not responsible for any accidents that occur following the repair. However, it’s crucial for you to remember that these disclaimers have no legal validity and under The Repair Shop Act of New York, the auto repair shop can be held accountable if you suffer an injury in an accident caused due to their negligence.

Can an NYC Mechanic Be Sued for Misdiagnosis of Fault?

It’s not completely exotic when a mechanic fails to identify the exact problem with their vehicle. If this happens with your vehicle and later, you get into an accident; your mechanic may be held responsible for a misdiagnosis and can be sued through a misdiagnosis negligence case.

If you decide to file such a lawsuit, the onus is on you to prove that this particular mechanic did not exercise the level of care that is expected from any repair mechanic in the given scenario. Also, you will have to prove that the wrong diagnosis of fault was foreseeable and therefore, it was the carelessness of the mechanic that was responsible for your accident and the injuries you suffered.

Reasons to Engage a New York City Auto Maintenance Accident Attorney

When you have been injured in an auto repair car accident caused due to negligence of a mechanic, it can be quite difficult for an individual to prove liability. Auto shops always argue that they performed repairs in the correct manner, and they try to escape fault by claiming that the issues that caused the accident were unrelated to their repair work. Another common ploy used by most auto repair shops in New York is to argue that your accident was an unforeseen event and therefore, not their fault. 

In quite a few cases, automobile repair shops have also been known to falsify their records to show that certain problems were repaired when in reality, those repairs were not carried out. Identifying such situations is not easy for the accident victim but it can be done by engaging automobile experts and this is one important reason to engage an auto repair accident lawyer.

When you engage a skilled auto repair accident attorney, they have the resources to carry out an independent, comprehensive investigation that throws up evidence in your favor. They can also engage engineering, automobile, and medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists to prove that your accident was indeed a result of the auto repair mechanic’s negligence.

Contact an Experienced Auto Repair Car Accident Lawyer in NYC Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused due to problematic repairs of your car, it’s important to pursue your case aggressively. This will help you recover the damages due to you for the loss you sustained, and also serve as a deterrent to the auto repair shop to avoid such negligence in the future.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our personal injury attorneys have several years of experience in winning compensation for clients injured in car accidents caused by auto repair shop negligence. To understand how we can help you recover the damages that are your due, contact us today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential case evaluation.


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