Can I sue a auto repair chainbecause of an incident occurred with my car while in their custody?

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Can I sue a auto repair chainbecause of an incident occurred with my car while in their custody?

I drove my car to a car repair service center for a fix because of the leak issue. I dropped it off. When I came back from after lunch, the car caught on fire, which melted almost the whole front part. The technician said afterwards the leaking gasoline caused the fire when he tried to start the engine (it was their technician that caused the fire, not me). I am still waiting for the report from the fire marshal. My insurer does not cover fire damage. So what should I do now? Can I sue or get coverage from the service center?

Asked on February 8, 2012 under General Practice, New York

Answers:

Marshal Coleman / Marshal Coleman, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue the auto repair shop, but you will have to prove they were negligent in the handling of your car.  It is not enough that the car caught on fire.  You will have to provide some proof that they did something wrong.  There may, however, be an issue regarding a legal principle called res ipsa, in which, if the car was in the exclusive care and custody of the repair shop and it caught fire, that alone would be negligent, entitling you to a recovery.


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