Can I sue a body shop for additional damages that happened to my car while it was being repaired?

My car had to have the passenger door skin, front right quarter panel & right headlight replaced. The body shop put the new door skin & quarter panel on, but when it was painted, left behind a lot of trash and air bubbles under the paint. Took the it to have this fixed, when I picked it up the 2nd time, the entire car had overspray on it including chrome trim, rims, door handles, side mirrors and ALL windows/windsheilds. After allowing them the chance to make it right one additional time separate from initial repair, I don’t want to trust them to fix it a 3rd time. Can I send them the bill?

Asked on July 30, 2012 under General Practice, North Carolina


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the auto body shop for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable auto body 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 body shop would your car have been damaged?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the body shop of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence. Your damages would be the cost of repairs. You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting another repair shop whose charges are comparable to other repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive repair shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly.

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