Can an auto repair shop damage your vehicle to where it isn’t driveable and not provide you with a rental car?

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Can an auto repair shop damage your vehicle to where it isn’t driveable and not provide you with a rental car?

We took our vehicle to a car repair chain to get the A/C compressor replaced. They said we had a leak in our evaporator coil. In the process of fixing the coil they broke our shift cable and put a crack in our console along with some other stuff. The car was towed to a dealership and it is taking forever to get fixed because of a lack of communication on the part of the claims rep for the auto repair chain. It gave us a rental for 10 days but my vehicle isn’t fixed and it says that we have to pay for the rental from now on.

Asked on September 28, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If someone negligently (or unreasonably carelessly) damages your property, they may be liable, or financially responsible, for all the costs imposed thereby: e.g. repair costs, car rentals for while the vehicle is out of commission; etc.

Unfortunately, if they won't voluntary honor their obligations, you would need to sue them to get the money from them--there is no other mechanism to get rental reimbursement (unless, that is, you have your own car rental insurance coverage). Therefore, you need to consider whether, economically, it is worthwhile seeking the additional rental from them, or if this is a case where you are better off swallowing the cost. Note that if you decide to sue, one option is to sue in small claims court and represent yourself (no lawyer) to save costs.


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