Is the dealership at fault if it failed to properly tighten my lug nuts and my tire fell off?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is the dealership at fault if it failed to properly tighten my lug nuts and my tire fell off?

I took my vehicle in to get an oil change. I also asked them to check the front left tire because I was hearing a weird sound and couldn’t tell what it was. They checked the brakes and the spring and said that it was fine. About a week and a half later, I was driving down the road and the left front tire fell off. After inspecting it, the dealership told me that the lug nuts had been loose for some time and that was the reason the tire fell off. Nothing snapped or broke, just loose lug nuts. Shouldn’t this be the dealership/service departments fault? I

brought my vehicle in to have them inspect it and wouldn’t you have thought they would check the lug nuts? They are trying to make me pay for it to be fixed but I trusted them to do a thorough examination of the vehicle which they apparently did not. The service manager even told me they technician did not check the lug nuts. Is this something they should be fixing for free since they didn’t do their job?

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Accident Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

d on what you have written, the dealership is likely at fault, and therefore liable for any/all repair costs: it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to not tighten lug nuts when replacing a wheel, and when someone negligently causes or contributes to damage to your property, they become liable for the costs to repair such damage. If they will not voluntarily honor their obligations, you could sue them (e.g. in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se" to reduce costs) for compensation.

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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