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Old April 9th, 2019, 14:35   #29
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Southern California

I don't think we can simply conclude that, since it broke in the mechanic's possession, he's liable for replacing it. That kind of rule would expose businesses to an untenable amount of liability--any time someone brought something in for repair the shop would have to refuse to test drive the car or else risk having to replace anything that breaks after the repair is complete. They'd simply give you the car back and, if something breaks on the drive home, you'd be legally liable for it under this new "possessor fixes any defects" legal theory. People would shoelace and bubble gum their cars back together to limp them into their closest mechanics in the hopes the engine would blow and they get a new one.

Less theoretical, however, is the very real mindset of anyone reviewing this case and concluding that a 300K vehicle is susceptible to anything happening regardless of who is driving and the owner could have just as likely been behind the wheel (maybe that's how test drives would be done, with mechanics riding shotgun and refusing any liability for anything going wrong before, during, or after an isolated repair). That is, if it ever gets to the point of a judge or insurance adjuster looking at the facts, they're going to want and need a piece of paper or testimony from some expert stating that the mechanic caused the fault rather than it simply happening in due course while under the mechanic's care/supervision.
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