QUESTION

Is the driver liable for an accident if it is proved that the garage forgot to connect the breaks before releasing the car?

Asked on Oct 20th, 2013 on Personal Injury - New York
More details to this question:
My friend collected his car from a garage after its annual service, he then drove out into a busy road. Before he had picked up any speed, a pedestrian, crossed a pedestrian crossing ahead of him. my friend applied the brakes but the car did not stop. He was able to swerve and bring the car to a halt without damage. But the pedestrian was struck a glancing blow and fell over. She was taken to the hospital where the nurse at the reception accorded her a low priority and had to wait about 3 hours to see a doctor. When her turn came, she could not stand. It was found that she sustained more serious back injury and is likely to suffer permanent paralysis. If she had been given a suitable support and seen promptly, these consequences would probably have been avoided. Kevin also later found out that the garage had failed to reconnect the brakes before the car was returned to him. What recourse Lucy has and against who?
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William M Stoddard
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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Maybe not, but as it was your car, well you will be a party in any lawsuit so the hurt person can get to the garage. They might start suit against you and expect you to cross claim against the garage.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Given those facts, the garage is at fault. I hope that there is a police report that mentions these facts.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 5:59 AM
Lucy can sue the driver and owner of the car and the hospital, however if it was the E/R it is a much tougher case. The owner and driver can bring in the garage in Lucy's suit as a defendant.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 5:36 AM
Yes the driver is liable but he can then sue the mechanic for not doing the job properly.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 5:04 AM
I think Lucy certainly has recourse against the garage that let the car go out with brakes that did not work, assuming that can be proven. The most important thing will be to have the brakes examined to make sure the garage people were negligent in failing to reconnect the brakes. Lucy may also have a claim against Kevin and his automobile liability insurer if Lucy can prove that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have been able to avoid hitting her. The hospital emergency department may also be liable for the failure to timely examine Lucy. If the insurers of the garage and of Kevin have adequate insurance to compensate Lucy, she may be able to avoid bringing the hospital into the claim. However, if the damages are large enough to exceed the insurance coverage of the garage and Kevin, then the hospital might have to be brought into the case. Medical negligence cases are often difficult to win, so the easier cases would probably be against the garage and Kevin's automobile liability insurer.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 5:00 AM
The pedestrian would have a possible claim for negligent operation of the car against the owner/operator, but under the circumstances you cite, she would also have a claim against the repair facility and/or the owner/driver would have a claim against them (indemnity, hold harmless, contribution, negligent repair, etc.) and would bring them in to any suit filed against him by the pedestrian. It is extremely important in a case like this to document the non-connected brake system by photos and inspection by a qualified technician/expert.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 4:40 AM
The answer to your question is yes. It is very important that he take the car to a garage and have it inspected to prove whether the brakes were defective and if so why they were defective.

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Answered on Oct 22nd, 2013 at 4:32 AM
This sounds suspiciously like an exam question. Kevin is liable for driving a car without brakes, the garage is liable for not fixing the brakes and the hospital is liable for malpractice. Maybe.

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