If an optometrist mailed myeye glasses back to me against my instructions and the post office lost them, is the optometrist liable?

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If an optometrist mailed myeye glasses back to me against my instructions and the post office lost them, is the optometrist liable?

My prescription glasses were being repaired at optometrist’s office. I said do not mail, I will them pick up. However they did mail and the Post Office lost the package and it won’t honor the insurance claim because I do not have the original receipt for these glasses. I purchased them5 years ago and are unable to get the original receipt from the store (it has since changed hands). If the post office is not liable, then is the optometrist? Can I sue the ooptometrist’s office in small claims court or am I just out of luck?

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you feel that you can show that the optometrist ignored you clear instructions, you may be able to sue them for negligently losing your glasses. It's an uphill battle though, since first you'd need to prove the instructions  were provided (whoever is suing has the burden of proof, to establish his or her case), and you'd *possibly* also have to prove that mailing the glasses back anyway was unreasonable or negligent (since if it was perfectly reasonable to mail them anyay, there'd be no liability). If you are willing to take  the time and small  cost (usually around $30 or so) to go to small claims court, can accept that winning is not guaranteed, and aren't worried about relations with this optomitrist in the future, there is probably no reason to not try small claims court--again, just understand it's not  at all a given that you'd win.


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