What are my options if the body shop that is fixing my vehicle does damage to other parts of it?

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What are my options if the body shop that is fixing my vehicle does damage to other parts of it?

My vehicle was involved in an accident where other party was at fault, whom insurance assumed responsibility for the damage. They approved for the vehicle to be repaired at the body shop I recommended based on previous good experience. The body shop estimated that repairs would only take 2 weeks as did insurance adjuster. Actually repairs took 4 weeks and uncompleted. Had to return vehicle to complete undone repairs and acknowledged compound particles found on hood. front bumper, and side panel which was part of original repairs. Bodyshop agreed to repaint areas but don’t want to cover rental.

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As for the additional car rental cost, you should contact the insurance company instead of the body shop to see if the insurance company will pay for the additional car rental cost.

If the insurance company will not pay for the additional car rental cost, you could sue the body shop for negligence.  Your negligence claim would be based on the additional repairs for the paint and delayed repairs (additional two weeks) which resulted in the additional rental car charges.

Negligence is based on failure to exercise due care to prevent foreseeable harm.  Due care is that degree of care that in this case a reasonable body shop would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances (repairing the car without causing additional damage).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to establish duty, breach, actual cause and proximate cause.  Duty refers to the duty to exercise due care when making the repairs.  Breach  of duty is the failure to exercise due care.  Actual cause means but for the body shop damaging your car would you have had additional rental car charges?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the body shop of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.

Subsequent repairs (paint) would be evidence of an admission of liability on the part of the body shop.

Your damages (additional rental car charges)  would be an amount you could pursue in Small Claims Court.  Your damages in addition to the additional rental car charges should also include court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

 


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