When you take your vehicle for repair or service, you have the right to expect the work will be performed competently. That’s part of the duty of care held by the party servicing the vehicle. When the servicer or repair shop fails in this duty, resulting in injury, it can be cause for legal action.
Auto mechanic liability alleges the mechanic or shop is responsible to pay damages caused by negligence. For instance, if a mechanic rotates the tires on a vehicle but does not properly reattach the lug nuts on one of those wheels and it results in an injurious crash, that could be cause for injured parties to seek damages against the mechanic. Shops may also be liable if they negligently hire mechanics who are not properly qualified for the work they perform.
Recently in Massachusetts, parents of a teen killed in a car accident filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the auto repair service that had allegedly improperly installed tires on her vehicle.
According to The Telegram & Gazette, the 17-year-old girl was killed and her 15-year-old brother seriously injured when their vehicle slid off the road and struck a tree in February 2016. That morning, school had been delayed two hours due to weather, and authorities say icy roads could have been a factor in the fatal collision. The girl’s brother/ passenger was in a coma for weeks. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and will likely require treatment for the rest of his life. His medical bills at this juncture exceed $500,000, and the total cost of care over his lifetime is expected to reach more than $12 million. Further, as a promising former athlete, it is alleged he has lost up to $5 million in future earning capacity.
In their federal lawsuit, plaintiffs allege the repair shop was negligent in installing the tires several months earlier in the fall of 2015. Contrary to industry standards, plaintiffs allege, the shop put two new tires in the front of the vehicle instead of the rear, which ultimately resulted in a tread imbalance that caused the vehicle to spin out. Had the new tires been placed at the rear of the vehicle, the complaint alleges, the young driver would never have lost control of the vehicle. The family is seeking $18.5 million in compensatory damages.
Defendant, meanwhile, denies it placed the tires where family alleged. Company records reportedly indicate the new tires were placed on the rear axles. It appears this will be an important dispute of fact as the case moves closer to settlement or trial. A statement released by the company repeated this fact, saying a copy of the service order would be made available publicly only if became part of the court record.
Plaintiff attorney responded that just because the service record says one thing is not necessarily proof that it’s reflective of the work that occurred. He said he could provide other instances wherein records of the work did not reflect the reality of the work that was completed.
The investigating law enforcement agency said the officer had noted the tire placement in the initial crash report, but that kind of in-depth analysis isn’t typically conducted by officers on scene. This is a good example of why it’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after a Fort Lauderdale crash.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Hubbardston family suing Walmart over crash that killed daughter, injured son, Oct. 3, 2017, By Brad Petrishen, Telegram & Gazette
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Determining Number of Accidents Key in Personal Injury Lawsuit, Sept. 23, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog