Am I able to sue a mechanic for having not fixed my car thereby making it dangerous to drive?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I able to sue a mechanic for having not fixed my car thereby making it dangerous to drive?

I have brought my car to the dealership’s mechanic 4 times now to fix my car. My car’s engine will randomly shut off. Mostly when I come to a stop but it has happened while I am driving as well. So far I have been lucky in that I have been able to pull off to the side of the road or I was at a stop sign. I have altered life plans because my car is unsafe to drive. I was supposed to move to another state and spent a considerable amount of money to ship my stuff ahead and now I have to spend money to have my things shipped back here where I will continue to be living.

Asked on October 15, 2018 under Business Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You could potentially sue for the cost to have the car correctly fixed by some other mechanic, or if your car is damaged due to the engine shutting off (e.g. that casues an accident), you could sue for those repair costs. However, there is no lawsuit because you "altered your life plans." The reason is, you can only sue over things "proximally caused" by what you are suing for--that is, for consequences which in the normal course of events, the average person would foresee or anticipate were a consequence of what you are suing about (the failure to repair). No person would reasonably or normally foresee that a failure to fix this issue would cause someone to alter life plans and not move to another state. Similarly, you cannot sue when there is a "supervening" (or intervening) cause to your alleged loss, and there is such a supervening cause here: your failure to do any of 1) bring the car to another mechanic to fix; 2) move anyway, since there is no reason why you could not have moved to  another state because your car randomly shuts off (you could have had your car towed or shipped out, if you though it not safe for the trip, for example). You chose to let a car problem upend your entire life; that is not the dealership's fault or liability.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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