What is my course of action if an auto repair shop damaged my vehicle?

Took my car in to a shop to get my intake gasket changed and timing reset. Now my motor is knocking and I have no oil pressure. Now they tell me it was like that when I brought it in and it wasn’t? What I think they did is when they pulled the distributor to change the gasket on the intake, upon putting the distributor back they didn’t connect the oil pump rod back to the distributor and when they started my vehicle the camshaft knocked the oil pump rod around in the motor damanging the bearings. I have had no problems with my car before this, I would have not taken my car in to get my intake gasket changed and timing set if I had a knock in the motor and now oil pressure, I would have addressed the knocking and oil pressure first, it would be a wasted of money to do one before the other.

Asked on June 8, 2012 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the auto repair shop for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable auto repair shop 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), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the auto repair shop, would your car have been damaged?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the auto repair shop of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages is the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs to your car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting another auto repair shop to make the repairs whose charges are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive auto repair shop you could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, you will need to mitigate damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.

Depending on the total amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit, you may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  In addition to the damages mentioned above, your damages should also include court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.


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