Do I have a good case if my mechanic if he broke the motor of my car on a test drive?

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Do I have a good case if my mechanic if he broke the motor of my car on a test drive?

My mechanic completed repairs on my sports car, tuned up the fuel pump and installed new hoses. Upon completion, they took the car for a test drive and the crankshaft broke destroying the motor which was running when I drove it there.

Asked on March 6, 2012 under General Practice, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could sue your mechanic for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable mechanic would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm). 

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty of care mentioned above, breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.  Actual cause means but for the mechanic would the crankshaft have broken and damaged the engine?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the mechanic of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs or replacement of the engine.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting an auto repair shop whose charges are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive repair shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.

Prior to filing your lawsuit for negligence against the mechanic, it might be possible to settle the case with the mechanic's insurance carrier.  If the case is settled, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the mechanic prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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