What to do if a mechanic caused damage to your car?

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What to do if a mechanic caused damage to your car?

A local auto place said they would replace our alternator on car because it was going bad. When they tried jump starting car with jumper box it sent car into security mode. They said they would fix it. Days later they still didn’t fix it. They agreed to pay for towing to the dealership. When the dealership looked, they said the ECM was fried due to someone not hooking jumper cables up correctly. Car was starting fine before this. Auto place denies doing this and hung up on us.

Asked on February 22, 2011 under General Practice, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Listen you are going to have to sue the other mechanic.  You have proof that the car was in their possession when the damage occurred, correct?  Even if you have no bill from the mechanic do you have  receipt for drop off or anything like that?  That you definitely do have is a towing charge showing that it went from there to the delaership. You need that bill and that information.  The other evidence may just be testimony from you or whomever had the conversation with the mechanic and the mechanic.  The court can base their decision on the credibility of the witnesses at the time that testimony is taken.  Good luck to you with all of this.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Legally, if mechanic, repair shop, etc. caused damage to your car while it was in their custody--especially if they did it in the course of trying to fix it--then in almost all circumstances, they would be liable for those costs. The exceptions would be cases where they were not careless and did nothing at all wrong--e.g., if the damage occured because the manufactur substituted the wrong part without labeling it AND a reasonable mechanic would not have been aware of or noticed that, so when the mechanic did what he or she was supposed to do based on how the car should have been repaired, that caused damage through no fault of the mechanic. But except in that sort of exceptional circumstance, the mechanic would liable.

2) Factually and practically, if they are going to deny fault,  you'll have to find someway to prove that, which may involve getting the car examined by some other mechanic who would write up a report and/or testify. If the mechanic and auto place simply will not pay, you'd have to sue them for compensation. Whether doing this is worthwhile depends on what sort of costs you are facing.


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