How Choosing the Wrong Auto Mechanic Led to a Fatal Injury

Marshall M. Raucci

A Vermont auto mechanic was recently arrested on charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment in connection with passing the state inspection on a defective car that later crashed and killed a woman, as reported by the Burlington Free Press. The mechanic reportedly inspected the victim’s 1992 Chevrolet Corsica vehicle, eight weeks prior to the brakes failing on a Vermont road. The driver of the vehicle, who was the victim’s husband, reported that he was traveling down a steep road in the 22-year-old car “when he heard a pop.” As the vehicle picked up speed downhill, the driver was unable to stop and crashed, killing the 82-year-old passenger. A subsequent investigation revealed that the rear brakes showed serious signs of rust and corrosion. Charges were later filed against the mechanic last month.

This incident is a sad reminder about what could go tragically wrong when selecting an auto technician. It is crucial that you choose your mechanic carefully. Make sure the repair shop is reputable and performs a thorough inspection of any aging parts that can pose a safety risk. Training and certification are the optimal ways to assess a mechanic’s abilities. In addition, while there may be times when skipping a car repair does not create a safety risk, certain safety-related repairs, such as those involving brakes and tires, should never be overlooked.

Check out these important tips to follow from the American Automobile Association (AAA):

  • Make sure repair shop is (ASE)-certified. Look for Automotive Service Excellence(ASE) certifications or the equivalent factory service training. If testing/training certificates are not posted, ask to see them.
  • Do your research. The Better Business Bureau, your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, and your Attorney General’s office can all provide information on repair shops. Online consumer sites and social media networks are other sources of reviews and feedback.
  • Observe amenities. Quality facilities house a comfortable waiting area and clean restrooms. These are signs of a good repair shop.
  • Check warranty. Make sure the shop offers at least a 12-month/12,000-mile parts and labor warranty.
  • Locate AAA Approved Auto Repair sign. Shops that display this sign have met AAA’s high standards.

If you believe that you’ve been injured by the faulty repairs of a car mechanic, we invite you to contact us to discuss your case.