Can I sue a mechanic / Auto repair shop for negligence?
Brian White | November 17, 2016 | Auto Accidents
Our law firm does not handle these types of cases. As we exclusively handle personal injury cases, we can only help if you have been injured in an accident. The content in this blog post (“post”) is meant for general informational purposes only. Information found in the post does not constitute as formal legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. Attorneys representing victims of negligent auto mechanics can be found through outside attorney databases like this one.
The need to take your car to get serviced is something none of us enjoy doing. We often go into a mechanic shop with the mindset that the mechanic will attempt to upcharge you on work which could be done for half the cost. This idea of a scam has become rooted in our society to the extent that many motor vehicle drivers will take their vehicle to multiple mechanics before settling on one.
Many individuals also have their “go-to” mechanic friend who will make the necessary adjustments to the vehicle. However, the majority of us have to take our car to the closest mechanic when something goes wrong. If your car ends up with more damage after a trip to the mechanic, you likely have questions regarding the mechanic’s skills, ability, and negligent behavior.
A question on everyone’s mind when taking their car in for service is whether you can sue a mechanic or auto shop for negligence if the “fix” damages your car rather than repairs it.
Claims against mechanics and auto repair shops are typically brought in small claims court. In Texas, a suit to recover an amount under $10,000 may be brought in small claims court. Given the fact that most vehicles cost less than $20,000, most repair jobs are less than this amount. However, if your claim for damages is greater than $10,000, you may be entitled to bring a claim for damages outside the small claims court.
In unique circumstances, mechanics and auto repair shops may be held liable for a larger sum, if it can be proven that their negligent actions led to greater damage. For example, in some situations, a mechanic’s actions could render a car more susceptive to severe accidents, resulting in serious injuries to all passengers.
A mechanic could therefore be held responsible for not only the cost of the repair (leading to the accident), but also the aftermath of the accident itself, including medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and other damages.
Texas is a comparative negligence state, which means that a person will be able to recover after an auto accident or other damage was caused, as long as they can prove the following:
- Duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff
- Breach of the duty
- But for the actions of the negligent party, the accident would not have occurred
However, if a plaintiff is more than 51 percent at fault for the damage to their vehicle, they will be unable to bring a negligence claim against the mechanic.
In any situation, a victim must be able to prove that the mechanic’s actions rose to the level of “negligent behavior.” Or, in other words, whether the accident or damage would have occurred without the mechanic’s actions. This can be a tough hurdle to cross, and sometimes it is helpful to bring in a neutral third party mechanic with an understanding of the facts and circumstances who can speak to the nature of the damages.
It is important to keep in mind that you are not able to sue a mechanic for overcharging you. You have to be able to prove that a direct action performed by the mechanic resulted in injury to your or your vehicle, whether it be financial or physical damages. If that’s the case, a Houston car accident lawyer at our firm can help you recover damages for your injuries.