If an auto repairman has an accident in my car, am I liable?
Where the owner of a motor vehicle entrusts the car to a repairman or serviceman, the owner of the car is not liable so long as the owner of the car did not have control of the vehicle at the time. However, if the owner of the car gives the car to another person to bring the car for servicing, and that person has an accident, then the owner of the car will have liability for the accident. The owner is in control until the car is delivered to the service center, and that control is re-established when the car is picked up after repairs. In a Florida appellate case, the owner of a car turned his car over to an employee of a car cleaning service whose job was to pick it up and drive it to the servicing center. On the way, the employee crashed the car. The other driver sued the owner of the car. The Court said that the owner was liable, stating that “an owner who authorizes another to transport his car to a service agency remains in control thereof and ultimately liable for its negligent operation until it is delivered to an agency for service”. Michalek v Shumate, 524 So.2d 426 (Fla. 1988)