Auto Body shop repairs

After I had an accident and the body shop repair, that took 2 weeks. I used my car for a couple weeks after and started hearing different noises and the car just wasn’t handling right. The day before taking car in, to be looked at my brake fluid light went on and pedal, had to go all the way down, to stop. They sent a tow truck and said everything would be included and paid for by them, repairs and all. After a couple days they said, they felt I was the cause of this newest damage and they wouldn’t fix it for free. I did only drive the car 500 miles normally. I had to pay them, to get my car back as I was paying fro a rental car. They also fixed car without letting me know first that I was gonna pay for repairs. Thanks

Asked on September 13, 2017 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A repair shop is liable for not completing repairs or for causing damage in the course of repairs. If you believe the repair shop either failed to fix your car or actually caused new problems, you can sue them for professional negligence (carelessness) and seek monetary compensation, such as a return of anything you have already or prevously paid, and/or the cost to have someone else now properly make the repairs. You need more than your non-expert opinion, however, as to the cause of these problems: you will have to have another mechanic, etc. exam the car and offer an opinion as to what happened (i.e. that the other shop failed to make repairs and/or caused damage) and you will need that mechanic to testify in court, should the matter to to trial (not be settled). Without an expert opinion, you have no way to prove to a court what happened and why--your own belief on this subject (unless you happen to be a trained and experienced aut mechanic) will not be considered.
You will have to pay him/her for his/her time; depending on how expensive fixing the car now would be, it is possible that it would not worthwhile to go to the time, trouble, and cost of a lawsuit, since you have to pay your own lawsuit-related costs (e.g. anything you pay the mechanic who exams your car).


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