What are my rights if my car was damaged during shipping?

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012

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What are my rights if my car was damaged during shipping?

I purchased a car in a another city and it had shipped to mine. The seller gave the keys to the driver and the car was working. When the car was delivered it had damage to the intercooler which is located in the front bottom. The seller had recently installed the part and has the receipt. The shipping company said they are not responsible because the vehicle was previously wrecked. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Business Law, Texas


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employer is liable for the negligence of its employee which occurred within the course and scope of employment.  Since the intercooler was damaged when you received the car, the shipper may be liable for the negligence of its delivery driver. 

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable auto delivery shipper 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 (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the shipper delivering the car would the intercooler have been damaged?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the shipper of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs to the intercooler.

If it is unclear whether the seller was negligent in the installation of the intercooler, then your lawsuit for negligence would name both the seller and shipper as defendants and they would both be liable for the total damage.  They would each have the burden of proof in showing that they were not liable.


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