What to do if a car repair service company destroyed my car?

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What to do if a car repair service company destroyed my car?

Company installed new radiator. They test drove and car died in their possession. They claimed I needed new battery. Purchased it. They claim 22 point inspection (including oil). 12 hours later, the piston rod blew through the motor. Cause must be no oil in car. Had oil when I brought to them. Car worked fine. 64K on on car. What recourse do I have to reclaim loss of property, time without vehicle and proceed with legal action (I do not expect them to admit fault)? They need their insurance to determine root cause. Then I can do independent investigation. Interim, I have no vehicle!

Asked on November 26, 2011 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you believe they damaged or destroyed your car, you can submit a claim to them for the value of the car and other out-of-pocket costs you have incurred (e.g. renting replacement vehicle). They may or may not take the claim seriously; they may or may not submit to their insurer; their insurer may or may not investigate; if they investigate, they may or many not pay. They would not be required to share the results of their investigation with you. In short, while there is no harm in submitting a claim, you can't make them act on it--for example, you can't make their insurance "determine root cause" for you.

The only way to seek compensation if the service company or its insurer will not voluntarily pay you would be to sue and prove in court that they damaged or destroyed your car. You would have the ability to get testimony and records from them, but would also have to provide your own evidence. You would only win if you can prove your case by a "preponderance of the evidence," or show that it is more likely than not that they caused the damage. Since winning is not a given, and the amount you can recover is commensurate with your vehicle's value, for an older vehicle, it may not be worthwhile.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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