What can I do about a mechanic who lied about repairs, the safety ofmy car and who failed to give a statement of what he repaired?

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What can I do about a mechanic who lied about repairs, the safety ofmy car and who failed to give a statement of what he repaired?

A friend of mine who is new to this country and doesn’t speak much English got into a car accident and needed repair. She paid over $3000 for the repair and the mechanic failed to give her a statement of the items he fixed. She had trouble with the car took it to another repair shop and they found thousands of dollars worth of obvious damage that even I can see once the car is in the air. The first mechanic insisted the car was fixed and ready to drive while come to find out the car still has serious damage and is unsafe to drive. The first mechanic won’t give a statement/receipt of what he supposedly did.

Asked on January 4, 2012 under General Practice, Kansas

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your friend was not at fault in the accident, the at-fault driver's insurance company will pay for the repairs.  If your friend was not at fault in the accident and the other driver did not have insurance, but your friend had uninsured motorist coverage, she could file a claim with her auto insurance company and the insurance company would pay for the repairs.  If your friend did not have uninsured motorist coverage and the at-fault driver/registered owner did not have insurance, your friend could sue the at-fault driver/registered owner for negligence and recover the cost of repairs.

Your friend can sue the first mechanic for negligence for the faulty repairs.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable mechanic would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances).  Your friend's damages (the amount she is seeking to recover in a lawsuit for negligence against the first mechanic) would be the cost of repairs.  Your friend will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the car repaired at a place whose charges are comparable to other mechanics in the other area.  If your friend selected the most expensive second mechanic she could find to repair the car, her damages would be reduced accordingly.

It would be easier to prove negligence than fraud because fraud requires proof of intent on the part of the first mechanic.  That is why it would be advisable to sue the mechanic for negligence instead of fraud.

However, it would also be advisable to contact the state's consumer fraud division of the attorney general's office regarding the first mechanic.


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