Can I sue a auto repair shop that caused a fire in my vehicle?

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Can I sue a auto repair shop that caused a fire in my vehicle?

I brought my van to a shop, they were authorized by phone to “look at” the van as it was driving with inconsistent acceleration. They didn’t just look at it they moved it and then they called me to inform me that they had started it on fire. The engine was totally ruined by the time the fire department put it out.

Asked on November 18, 2011 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, IF the auto repair shop caused the fire in some fashion--such as by dropping flammeable liquids on the running motor, by disconnecting a tube or pipe so oil or gasoline sprayed out, by using a torch or other hot implement near it, by dropping a lit cigarrette into it, etc.--they would be liable, or financially responsible, for the damage. However, if the repair shop didn't do anything intentionally or carelessly to cause the fire--it they were handling the vehicle in a responsible manner when the fire started--they would likely not be liable.


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