Damage caused by dealership

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Damage caused by dealership

Last week, I took my vehicle to a self service car wash. My father is a mechanic so his direction has always been,

Asked on January 17, 2017 under Accident Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, let me note that I am *not* an expert on 4WD, so I will take it on faith that you are correct and that all four tires would need to be replaced. 
That said, *if* they were at fault, then yes, they should have to pay to replace all 4 tires; when someone damages your property and is at fault in doing so, they become liable for the full cost to repair the damage, even if it involves a larger repair/replacement than the actual damage. (To analogize: say that someone negligently damages the hardwood floor in your kitchen: even if they only damaged a 2' x 2' section of planks, they are liable for the cost to not just repair that wood, but to refinish the entire floor so the color matches.)
The issue is, can you prove they were at fault? You would have to prove that the damage occured because they were unreasonably careless or negligent in some way. That may be difficult: for example, say that the damage was due to nail--how can you "prove" it occured at their dealership, because they left nails lying around, and did not occur before or after (e.g. before you dropped the car off, or after you picked it up). You will have your testimony as to the timing of the fault, but if you did not actually see (and ideally photograph) a nail sticking out of your tire at the dealership, or document that gash to them while you were there, it may be difficult to prove in a court (since if they won't pay voluntarily, you'd have to sue) that they caused the damage.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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