How to determine fault regarding an accident due to a faulty part?

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How to determine fault regarding an accident due to a faulty part?

I work at an auto repair shop and a customer brought us his van that had lots of aftermarket modifications to it. We replaced the steering column for him. A few days later he was involved in an accident, and there were no injures. The accident was due to a part breaking that was part of the steering column. It was not due to my neglect or bad workmanship. He is taking me to court. Am I at fault for a faulty part?

Asked on December 18, 2012 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may be liable, or financially responsible, for some or all of his injuries, damage or cost if you installed the part incorrectly or installed a defective part. (Though if the part were defective, you may be able to seek reimbursement from the distributor and/or manufacturer.) It would most likely take expert testimony--some engineering expert, for example--to determine if the part that broke was due to a defect or your poor workmanship. If the part were not defective, and/or was not a part you worked on or affected, you'd probably not be liable. Experts can be used on the defense, too--to determine that you were not, for example, at fault.


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