If I used an auto insurer’s mechanic to fix my car after an accident but the mechanic caused new damage, is the insurance company liable for this?

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If I used an auto insurer’s mechanic to fix my car after an accident but the mechanic caused new damage, is the insurance company liable for this?

I was in an accident and had the car repaired with an insurance claim. The mechanic repaired the car but after I brought it into my dealership and they found that the transmission was damaged due to the wrong transmission fluid being put in. Now they will not cover it under warranty.

Asked on June 24, 2015 under Insurance Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable mechanic would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

If the mechanic is the agent of the auto insurance company, then the auto insurance company is liable for the mechanic's negligence.  The mechanic is also liable for negligence.

If the mechanic is NOT the agent of the auto insurance company, the mechanic is liable for negligence.

If only the mechanic is liable for negligence, it may be possible to settle the case with the mechanic's insurance company without filing a lawsuit.  If the case is NOT settled with the mechanic's insurance company, file a lawsuit for negligence against the mechanic.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repair or replacement of the transmission.

If the mechanic is NOT the agent of the auto insurance company, it would be a weak case to claim the auto insurance company is liable for referring you to this particular mechanic.  You have a strong case of holding the mechanic liable for negligence.


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