What are my rights if a tire shop damaged 2 fiberglass panels on my car by incorrectly lifting it?

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What are my rights if a tire shop damaged 2 fiberglass panels on my car by incorrectly lifting it?

I provide an estimate to have the panels replaced, They sent me a check for $2700 less than that estimate. They said they will pay to repair the panels, not replace them. They claim that repairing the panels returns the car to the condition that is was in before the damage and that replacing the panels would “better the vehicle”. I feel that repairing the panels merely hides the damage, therefore does not return the car to its pre-damaged condition. Do I have any legal recourse to get the additional $2700 or does the law support their actions?

Asked on September 21, 2015 under Business Law

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse is to sue them them for the full amount you claim they owe if you can prove in court that they were at fault e.g. negligent or careless in lifting the car and that the only way to return the car to as close as possible its pre-damage state is to replace the panels, then you can win the money. The issue then is, what is necessary to restore the damage as closely as reasonably possible replacement or repair? You would need some expert testimony e.g. from some other experienced body shop employees about the pros and cons of fixing vs. replacing, and/or testimony from car salesmen or insurance adjustors about what each option does to the car's value. You can't rely only your testimony to win, because you are presumably a non-expert.


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