Am I able to sue a mechanic for having not fixed my car thereby making it dangerous to drive?

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Am I able to sue a mechanic for having not fixed my car thereby making it dangerous to drive?

I have brought my car to the dealership’s mechanic 4 times now to fix my car. My car’s engine will randomly shut off. Mostly when I come to a stop but it has happened while I am driving as well. So far I have been lucky in that I have been able to pull off to the side of the road or I was at a stop sign. I have altered life plans because my car is unsafe to drive. I was supposed to move to another state and spent a considerable amount of money to ship my stuff ahead and now I have to spend money to have my things shipped back here where I will continue to be living.

Asked on October 15, 2018 under Business Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You could potentially sue for the cost to have the car correctly fixed by some other mechanic, or if your car is damaged due to the engine shutting off (e.g. that casues an accident), you could sue for those repair costs. However, there is no lawsuit because you "altered your life plans." The reason is, you can only sue over things "proximally caused" by what you are suing for--that is, for consequences which in the normal course of events, the average person would foresee or anticipate were a consequence of what you are suing about (the failure to repair). No person would reasonably or normally foresee that a failure to fix this issue would cause someone to alter life plans and not move to another state. Similarly, you cannot sue when there is a "supervening" (or intervening) cause to your alleged loss, and there is such a supervening cause here: your failure to do any of 1) bring the car to another mechanic to fix; 2) move anyway, since there is no reason why you could not have moved to  another state because your car randomly shuts off (you could have had your car towed or shipped out, if you though it not safe for the trip, for example). You chose to let a car problem upend your entire life; that is not the dealership's fault or liability.


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