Can I sue an auto dealership for negligence?

UPDATED: Oct 15, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 15, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue an auto dealership for negligence?

I took my car to a dealership relating to a suspect coolant leak. They claimed there was no leak and did about $400 worth of minor repairs. 2 weeks later I was low on coolant again. Took it back and they said no leak. Took it back a 3rd time because now, along with coolant loss, my engine was running rough. Once again they said no leak and recommended replacing plugs and wiring for $600. Recently took my car to another shop because my car was running terribly and they said coolant has been leaking into the engine causing a cracked cylinder and I need a new engine for $6000. Any case?

Asked on October 15, 2011 under General Practice, Maryland


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the auto dealer for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable auto dealer would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care) mentioned above, breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by not detecting/repairing the coolant leak), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the auto dealer not detecting/repairing the coolant leak, would your engine have been damaged?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening events which would have relieved the auto dealer of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.

Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Damages means the cost of repairs to the car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages.  For example, if a comparable new engine can be obtained in the vicinity for less than the $6,000 you were quoted, mitigation of damages would require going with the lower price.  Failure to mitigate damages would result in your damages being reduced accordingly.

Related articleWho Pays for Car Damage That Happens at the Body Shop?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption