If an auto mechanic charged us about $700 to fix our car but it is not fixed and instead it’s worse, what should I do?

We told him to fix it. He said he would. Well he changed some coils and changed an oxygen censor. The check engine light remained on but he told us no error codes returned. Soon we took it to another authorized auto repair and they told us that he had drilled into some part incorrectly. They also said it has about 10-12 error codes, when the other man said there was none. I don’t know what I should do? He ruined a part that costs $840 and basically ripped us off. He told us he was going to drill in there but he did it incorrectly.

Asked on December 6, 2011 under General Practice, Nevada


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the first mechanic for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable mechanic would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care) mentioned above, breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by damaging your car), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the mechanic working on your car, would your car have been damaged?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening events which would relieve the mechanic of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit for negligence.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs to your car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the car repaired by a mechanic whose charges are comparable to other mechanics in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive mechanic you could find to repair your car, your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, you will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with reasonable rates.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.

A declaration signed under penalty of perjury from the second mechanic will provide evidence for you to use in court establishing the negligence of the first mechanic and the cost of repairs.

You can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages should include the cost of repairs to your car, rental car if applicable and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

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