Should I be fully responsible for a mechanics fault

I brought my car in for two new tires and an alignment. Originally I thought I was going to need tie rod ends replaced, my mechanic told me there was no need and that they looked fine. Dropped my car off and the next day I received a call saying that the nut on my tie rod was stuck and that he had already attempted to remove it when it broke. No prior notice that he would start wrenching on it. Now I’m expected to pay an additional $500 to replace tie rod ends on both sides. We live in Wisconsin so I understand things get rusted but I still feel like I shouldn’t be the one fully responsible.

Asked on September 15, 2016 under Business Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The issue is factual: was the mechanic negligent, or excessively careless, in how he tried to remove it (e.g. pounded on it with a hammer; used an inappropriate tool; etc.) or not (i.e. tried to remove it the way any reasonable mechanic would)? If he was careless, he should have to bear the cost; but if not--if he did what any reasonable mechanic would have done in that situation, but the nut was too rusted/corroded--he is not liable, and you will have to pay.
If you and he can't agree, you could end up in litigation, if he sues you for money he feels you should pay, or you sue him for the damage. Litigation, even in small claims courts, has its costs, such as in time (you could easily spend a day or more doing this) and is not certain as to who will win. Therefore, it is likely in your interest to try to work this out with him.


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