What to do if I got into an auto accident a few weeks ago and the shop that I brought my car to inflicted damage to my car?

UPDATED: Sep 19, 2012

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What to do if I got into an auto accident a few weeks ago and the shop that I brought my car to inflicted damage to my car?

I have photos from my insurance company and the damages are obvious when compared to the original damages that occurred at the time of the accident. My insurance company is claiming that the damage inflicted by the shop will not be covered since it is a “intentional loss”. What can I do if the shop is negligent and denies any wrong doing?

Asked on September 19, 2012 under Accident Law, New York


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the auto repair shop for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable auto repair shop 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 auto repair shop, would your car have been damaged?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the auto repair shop 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.  Damages would be the cost of repairs to your car.  If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired at another shop, your damages should include the cost of the rental car.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the repairs done at a repair shop whose charges are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive auto repair shop you could find, your damages would be reduced accordingly for failure to mitigate damages.  The same applies to the rental car.  You will need to select a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.

In addition to your photos of the damage caused by the repair shop, additional evidence to support your negligence claim could include a statement signed under penalty of perjury by the repair shop you select to repair the damage from the first repair shop stating the specific damage that was caused by the first repair shop.

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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