Are they liable to pay for the damages/ a rental car? Are they liable to pay if I need to get a new car?

I had gone to a Wal-Mart in Joliet, IL to get my oil changed. A few days later yesterday I took a 2 hour trip, a half hour away from my destination my car stalled. I popped the hood and checked my oil to discover that there had been a tool left under my hood and my dipstick was clean. I called my dad he had been a mechanic and he told me to check under the car, the bottom of my car was covered in oil. He then advised me to check the oil filter, and as I did It turned out that it wasn’t screwed on, therefore all of my NEW oil had leaked from my car. My engine was rattling intensely and my entire car was shaking. I then paid to for 4 quarts of oil to put in my car, so that I could drive 2 hours home. Once I started driving home, my gears stopped shifting correctly and I couldn’t pick up any speed. I came to a stop sign ang my engine started rattling violently and my entire car wash shaking, we then had to pay 350.00 to get my car towed to an autoshop. I called the corporate office because the walmart itself was no help and they sent in a report and told me to call the store manager and file a damage claim. I don’t know how much this will all cost or if my car is even repairable.

Asked on September 23, 2018 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If, as appears to be the case from what you write, the store damaged your car through negligence or unreasonable carelessness (and not properly attaching the oil filter would certainly seem to be negligence), then yes--they would be liable for the cost to repair as well as for a rental for a reasonable period of time. If they will not voluntarily provide compensation, you'd have to sue them; in the lawsuit, you'd need to have some expert mechanic, etc. who examined your car testify as to the cause of the problem and why it was negligent (you, as a layperson, cannot testify in a way the court will credit or base its decision on about a technical matter). Assuming you convince the court that the store was at fault, you can get a judgment for reasonable repair and rental costs.


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