Is my mechanic liable for repairs to my car if the damage was caused because they missed the original problem?

UPDATED: Apr 26, 2012

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Is my mechanic liable for repairs to my car if the damage was caused because they missed the original problem?

I took my car to my mechanic and they perform repairs that were cause by an oil leak. They said they believed they fixed the problem but there was still another issue they could not fix themselves. When I took it to another mechanic he told me that the problem the previous mechanic said I had was wrong and that they should have seem the issue to begin with and fixed it. Because they didn’t see the initial problem all of the repairs they did were destroyed again due to the continuing oil leak. Is the first mechanic liable for the cost of the second time repairs?

Asked on April 26, 2012 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the first 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 due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the first mechanic not detecting the problem, would your car have required additional repairs?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the first mechanic of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence against the first mechanic.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs.  The first mechanic is liable for the cost of repairs and the second mechanic's repairs.

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

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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