Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Owner of Pa. State Inspection Garage

April 5, 2019

Cautionary Tale for All Pa. Drivers Who Suffer An Accident After Getting Car Inspected

Last week, the law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin filed suit on behalf of the Estate of Satiecka Walker Hearn against Paul W. Chamberlain and Chamberlain’s Garage in Tioga County, Pennsylvania for wrongful death.

The Garage inspected Ms. Hearn’s Mazda and passed it on August 3, 2017. Seven days later, the car left the road and rolled over causing Ms. Hearn’s (24) death. The state inspection report indicated that the tires, steering and the overall vehicle were in acceptable (passing) shape. However, it was later determined that the front tires were nearly bald, the steering was not working properly, and the car never road tested.

According to Steven Barrett, chair of the firm’s Personal Injury Team who filed the suit: “Drivers on Pennsylvania roads need to be able to trust that their vehicles are actually checked for all safety issues per state law when they go to a garage and pay for a state inspection. There should be no deaths or injuries suffered due to the gross negligence and reckless disregard of garage owners who profit from unacceptable inspection services. Inspection stations hold themselves out as being qualified to make sure that our cars are safe for operation. We all pay hard earned money to mechanics who we rely on to protect us and the public at large. Cutting corners and then misrepresenting the true condition of a car not only breaches our trust, but effectively weaponizes our cars.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) employs Quality Assurance Officers who audit vehicle inspection stations and can hold them accountable when they are found to have cheated on performing full and accurate inspections.  Before you take your car to an inspection station you are not familiar with, it is important that you check whether the station or its owner has been cited for existing or pass violations.   A few minutes of investigation could actually help avoid you or a loved one from being seriously injured.

If you, or a member of your family, has been in a car accident after receiving your state inspection, please contact Mr. Barrett at 215-661-0400 immediately to have a free and confidential discussion about your rights.

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