What is a garage’s liability for incompetent auto repairs?

UPDATED: Apr 27, 2011

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UPDATED: Apr 27, 2011Fact Checked

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What is a garage’s liability for incompetent auto repairs?

I paid for extensive car repairs, most of which were suggested to us by the garage after taking it in grinding brakes and an oil leak. I drove the car for aweek when it stalled. At a different garage we were told the car had no oil and the engine seized up and is now junk. The car never overheated, the oil light never came on (not before or after the first repair) and I saw no evidence of leaking oil. Now we are facing the choice of replacing an engine (about $4000) after just putting  alot of money ($3100).

Asked on April 27, 2011 under General Practice, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the garage was negligent--or unreasonably careless; more careless than the reasonable auto repair shop or garage--in how they fixed your car; or worse, they knowingly made bad repairs (or knowingly covered up damage), then the garage may be liable for the amount of damage they did. You may be able to recover the cost to make good, repair, replace, etc. what needs to be done. If they did the actual fixes they were supposed to, you probably can't recover the money paid them for their work--though, as noted, you can seek compensation for the damage they did--but if they did not successfully or actually make the specific repairs they were hired to, you might be able to get that money (or some of it, anyway) back, too. The issue will be fault: was the garage at fault, by being negligent or deliberately acting bad, and did their actions cause the problems you're encountering. If the answers to those questions appear to be "yes," then you may have a cause of action and it would be worthwhile consulting with an attorney.

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