If I was driving on the freeway and the hood on my car flew off and smashed my windshield and dented my roof, can I sue the shop that Intalled it?

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If I was driving on the freeway and the hood on my car flew off and smashed my windshield and dented my roof, can I sue the shop that Intalled it?

The hood was aftermarket and installed 4 months before it flew off. The latch that holds the hood to the car was still locked in the car the hood itself broke off the latch.

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the shop for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that 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 due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.  Actual cause means but for the mechanic (shop), would the hood have broken off?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the shop of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs to your car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a repair shop whose charges are comparable to other repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive repair shop you could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages, and your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, you will also need to mitigate damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.

You may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages should include the cost of repairs to your car and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.


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