For Twenty Dollars
Q: In the dusk of the evening, I was driving on a highway. Abruptly, the car immediately ahead of me shifted into the right-hand lane. As I started to apply the brakes, I saw a car stopped in the center lane, dead ahead of me. Unable to pull over in time to avoid a collision, I rear-ended the disabled car. The driver of the disabled car has said that, just before his car slid to a standstill, he observed pieces of his car’s transmission rolling down the road. Just after the accident, the driver saw that his front right wheel was sideways. The driveshaft linking this wheel to the transmission was disconnected, dangling from the undercarriage. Two months before the accident, a mechanic had performed the required annual state motor-vehicle inspection. The inspector had issued the certificate stating that the car was in proper and safe working condition. Can I sue the inspector?
A: Please take a look at the DMV’s Inspection Groups and Fee Chart (Form VS77), effective on January 1, 2011. The fee for a safety inspection is no more than twenty dollars, often less. Bearing this in mind, our courts have not been willing to impose liability. Otherwise, the modest revenue from an inspection would be prohibitively outweighed by the liability insurance premiums that a station would need to pay. But perhaps there was more to the mechanic’s work than a mere inspection, and more than twenty dollars changed hands. Take this case to an attorney. As with any case, the right facts can make or break it.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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