Car shop broke my car and is trying to charge us for tow

We brought our escalade into aamco to
get a diagnosis on why it won’t shift
past 2nd gear. They took it for a test
drive and blew our transmission within
minutes. We had just driven it there
without failure from about 15 miles
away. They destroyed it in mere minutes.
Taking what should have been a 100ish
fix to a 3500 tranny rebuild. Not only
are they refusing to do anything for us,
they also want to charge us for the tow
from where it broke down to the shop
WHAT can we Do?

Asked on October 24, 2017 under Business Law, Oregon


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the repair shop for negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care which is that degree of care that a reasonable auto repair shop would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Forget about the BBB--they are, with all due respect, useless, and have no enforcement powers.
The issue is, was the repair shop at fault in causing the damage? You believe that they are, and if you are correct--if, for example, they drove the car too aggressively (or if it was a stick shift, had somone drive it who does not know how to drive stick) and that caused the tranny to blow, they are then liable for all costs flowing foreseeably or logically out of their negligence or carelessly. That is, they would be liable for the repair costs, towing losts, likely for the cost for you to rent a car while yours is repaired, etc.
The issue is really, though, can you *prove* they were at fault? If they were not at fault--if it was simply bad timing, for example, and the tranny would have gone out then no matter who drove it or how--they are not liable. If they won't pay voluntarily, your only way to get money is to sue them. As the plaintiff (person suing) the "burden of proof" would be on you; that is, you have to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is "more likely than not") that they caused the damage. Just saying it broke while they drove it does NOT prove your case; rather, you would need expert tesimony from another mechanic who examined your car and came to a conclusion, based on his experience and training, that the repair shop caused the damage. With such testimony, you have a reasonable chance at winning; without it, you will fail to prove your case and lose.

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