What can I do if my car was stolen while at a repairt shop and I don’t have insurance?

I had my car in the shop to have the alternator replaced. While it was there, it was stolen. The mechanic says he didn’t have it fixed yet, nor was there a ton of gas in it (maybe 3-4 gallons). There was also another vehicle and some other various items stolen. I didn’t have insurance on the vehicle at the time because the vehicle wasn’t running and I wanted to save money to be able to pay for the repairs (in retrospect, I see this was a very bad idea). The mechanic says to wait to see if it is found, and that he only has liability insurance (no theft coverage either). What steps can I take?

Asked on July 24, 2014 under Business Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the repair shop for the value of your car. Depending on the circumstances, they *may* be liable under a theory of negligence (if they were careless and did not secure the car or its keys properly) or even for conversion (theft), if there is evidence they somehow collaborated in the theft, or if it was stolen by a repair shop employee. First, make sure  a police report has been filed; then ask the shop for compensation; if they won't compensate you, file a lawsuit. If the car was worth less than your small claims court maximum, sue in small claims, acting as your own attorney (pro se); if worth more, contact a lawyer to represent you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.