Can I sue the auto repair store for things stolen out of my car?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue the auto repair store for things stolen out of my car?

Last week, I had my car towed to a discount auto care store to put a new starter on. Which they did, but then another issue arose my electronic control module went bad and he had to order the part. Replacing the starter and tow bill came up to $350. I paid $500 because he said that the ECM would cost an additional $375 which I did not have to they were going to finance the balance. While waiting on the part to come in, they parked my car on the lot with windows down and the battery removed thus making the alarm inoperable. New Link Destination
day I went to the shop and checked the car out and noticed that my glove compartment was open the contents scattered, my center console was open and items removed and my phone gone along with my cash. The center console had a key lock on it but it was broken. I asked the mechanic if he had seen anybody in the car he said he would check the cameras and get back to me. I have not heard anything at all. Is he liable for the theft of my merchandise while my car sat on his lot for repair?

Asked on June 8, 2017 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Normally, someone--including a repair shop or a store--is not liable for the criminal acts of other people, since they are not responsible for or caused other people to break the law; that lack of causality or responsibility precludes liability. Here, because it was arguably unreasonable careless (negligent) to leave the car parked where it was accessible with the windows down and alarm disabled, you *may* be able to overcome that usual state of affairs and win, by proving that their negligence contributed to the theft or enabled it. So given the usual rule, you are guaranteed to win, but you appear to at least have a plausible case and could reasonable try suing them.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption