What are my rights if a tire shop negligently installed tires on my truck andI had an accident as a result?

UPDATED: Jan 28, 2011

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What are my rights if a tire shop negligently installed tires on my truck andI had an accident as a result?

A tire shop sold and mounted 2 new tires on my truck. A half hour or so after I left the tire shop, one of the tires fell off and my truck received extensive front end axle damage. I called a tow truck driver who said that, “You could have been killed”. I also found out that the lug nuts on the second tire were not tightened properly. I had the truck towed back to the tire shop and I am with the owner of the shop right now. He said that this could have happened to anyone. I can’t believe a person that does this type of work can be so negligent and get away with it. I am currently 300 miles from home and I need to get my truck fixed and back on the road. The owner is assessing the damages right now. I hope he agrees to fix the damage. Is there any legal recourse that I can take (after he hopefully agrees to fix my truck)? Do I give up any rights by agreeing to let him fix the damage. I think the shop needs to be liable for this type of work.

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Accident Law, California


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the tire shop for negligence.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable tire shop would have exercised to prevent foreseeable harm).  The foreseeable harm would be the tire falling off if it was not installed properly.  To prove negligence, you have to establish duty, breach, actual cause and proximate cause.  Duty of care was mentioned above.  Breach of the duty was the failure to properly install the tire.  Actual cause means but for the tire not being properly installed, would it have fallen off?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which could relieve the tire installer of liability?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, proximate cause has been established. 

Your damages would be the cost of repairs to your vehicle.  The subsequent repairs by the tire shop could be used as evidence of their admission of liability.  Therefore, you would not give up your rights by having the damage repaired.


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