What are the chances of receiving a judgement in my favor to makea car repairchainpay for an oil leak they caused?

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What are the chances of receiving a judgement in my favor to makea car repairchainpay for an oil leak they caused?

The chain misdiagnosed the cause of car problems three times and kept my car for over 30 days. After reporting this to the corporate offices, it will refund the money I paid if I sign a release but refuse to address an expensive oil leak they caused. The rep from the corp offices acknowledged the oil leak before I asked for a refund and told me he advised the service manager to fix it at no cost to me because of all the other issues I experienced during the more than 30 day ordeal.

Asked on September 26, 2011 under General Practice, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although it is not possible to predict the outcome of a particular case, you do have a strong case if you were to sue the company for negligence.  If you sign the release, you have given up your right to file a lawsuit.

However, you have to consider what you will receive if you prevail in the lawsuit.  If you prevail in the lawsuit, your damages (amount you are seeking to recover in the lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to the car of fixing the oil leak.  The corporate representative has advised the service manager to fix the oil leak at no cost.  So, if the repair shop repairs the oil leak, you are not going to gain anything by filing the lawsuit since your objective was to have oil leak repaired. 

If the repair shop continues to refuse to repair the oil leak damage at no cost, proceed with your lawsuit for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable auto repair shop would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm). 

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (misdiagnosis), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.  Actual cause means but for the misdiagnosis would the car have been damaged by the oil leaks?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the auto repair shop of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages as mentioned above means the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit for negligence.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the oil leaks repaired by a repair shop whose charges are comparable to what the original shop was charging.  If you were to select the most expensive repair shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly. 

You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

 


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