If I took my truck to a repair shop about a month ago for small repairs and it was stolen because the shop left the gates open, is the shop responsible for the theft?

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If I took my truck to a repair shop about a month ago for small repairs and it was stolen because the shop left the gates open, is the shop responsible for the theft?

I bought my own parts and was having him put them on and that’s why it was in there for so long. Last week, I called for a update and to ask how much it would be for repairs. He told me it would be ready around this week and he would give me a price. When I called yesterday he told me that the truck was stolen. I got the cops involved, they took a report and then asked him if his gates where closed or open over night. The weekend shop owner said they where open.

Asked on July 15, 2015 under Business Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

They *might* be responsible--it depends on the reasonableness, given the area in which the shop is located (e.g. how much crime) of leaving the gates open. If a reasonable repair shop would have locked the gates--as I suspect--that there is a good chance they would be liable, because their negligence (or carelessness) in not taking reasonable security steps contributed to the theft. If you have theft insurance, submit a claim to your insurer (that's the quickest & easiest way to get compensation, and it's what you pay insurance premiums for), then sue the shop for anything not covered by insurance (e.g. the deductible) if it's worthwhile to you to do so. If you don't have theft insurance, then it is probably worth your while to sue the shop for you loss. You may need someone, like some security consultant, to testify as to what is and is not reasonable security. If the truck was worth several thousand dollars or more, you should hire an attorney, and he or she will know the evidence you need.


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