If a car is damaged while being repaired, who is liable?

My car has been in a repair shop 8 days now.The owner drove my car and said the noise he heard was from the parking brake cable. He told me that I could bring it by whenever since the cable wasn’t doing any damage. He said that he would fix the springs $60 and, if the cable needed to be replaced, it would cost $217. When he took the car apart, he said the cable messed up the wheel hub. When that part finally came in, he tried to get the hub assembly off of the CV axle but he ended up bending the hub assembly. Now I need a CV axle to go into the hub assembly. I couldn’t get my car put back together to take somewhere else because the hub assembly is bent.So now the original $60 is $775. Am I liable for the CV axle since he bent the usable hub assembly?

Asked on June 17, 2014 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The repair shop is liable for negligence for the damage to your car including replacing the CV axle which was attributable to the repair shop bending the hub assembly.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable repair shop would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm). 

You may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) should include the cost of repairs to your car and the cost of a rental car if you need a rental car while your car is being repaired and court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.

You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly. 


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