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

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2012

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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


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

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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