What are my rights if I took my vehicle for a recall repair for the rear axel and once back on the road my tire fell off and caused an accident?

While I was driving off the lot I noticed the rear wheels sliding side to side. As I was 2 blocks down the dealership my wheel fell off and strucked 2 other cars. One of the vehicles was towed to the nearest dealership as well as mine to the dealer I had gone to. The other vehicle didn’t have major damage and decided to leave after checking the car. My fiancé and I were really scared because we could of flipped over in the freeway. After walking down the street we noticed the bolts for my wheel were not put on as we did not find any of them on the floor. Do you think I have a case?

Asked on December 8, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The dealership was negligent, or careless, in it re-attaching the bolts. That negligence would make them liable, or financially responsible, for any damage, injury, costs, or losses you actually suffered, and if they will not compensate you, you could sue them. But you can only sue for actual damage, injury, losses, etc.--the fact that you "could" have flipped off the freeway is irrelevant, since the law does not provide compensation for what "could" have happened.

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