What to do if I went to get an oil change and a water check but the worker forgot to put the radiator cap back on which caused the engine to overheat and the head gasket to blow?

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What to do if I went to get an oil change and a water check but the worker forgot to put the radiator cap back on which caused the engine to overheat and the head gasket to blow?

I have the documentation that they changed my oil and checked my vehicle (water checks are standard). During the first real drive after getting it home, I was on my way to my new work site on a state road, and the vehicle rapidly overheated and stopped responding. When I went to check the engine with a family member who knew enough about vehicles to know what he was talking about, we found that the radiator cap was off and lodged deeper in the engine. No statement was made about the cap being missing so they did remove it. What action should I take, if any?

Asked on February 19, 2015 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

First, you can see if they will voluntarily pay the cost to repair your car; you can try calling first to discuss informally, and then follow-up with a formal written demand reiterating what happened and requesting payment.

If they will not agree to pay you, you can sue them (for example, in small claims court, acting as your own attorney) for the cost to repair--that's because if someone is unprofessionally negligent or careless while working on, servicing, etc. your property (i.e. your car), they can be held liable for the damage they do.


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