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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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.


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