How Do I Sue a Mechanic for Bad Work?

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How Do I Sue a Mechanic for Bad Work?

should. Whether the issue is simple or something more complex, you expect the mechanic to skillfully fix the problem. But what do you do if, after paying for the repairs, you discover that your car wasn’t fixed properly?

Depending on the circumstances, the best course of action may be to sue a mechanic to get compensation for the consequences of their bad work. If you are dealing with the consequences of a mechanic’s bad work on your car, know that you aren’t alone. At Morgan & Morgan, many clients have asked us, “How do I sue a mechanic for bad work?” 

Our attorneys can answer that question and help you determine your options for dealing with a mechanic’s bad work. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Different Types of Bad Work

If you discover that a mechanic has done bad work on your car, you may wonder if the mechanic will provide additional repairs at no cost and how much longer you will be without your car. The extra repairs may force you to take time off work, and you may feel wary of trusting the same mechanic to address the problem. 

But it’s not always easy to know if bad work has been done on your car in the first place. There are several different ways that a mechanic can do bad work on your car. Some of these ways are simple to recognize, while others may take years to identify.

Using Bad Parts

When some part of your car isn’t working, a broken part often needs to be replaced. Usually, a mechanic will use a new part to replace one that isn’t working right. Using brand-new parts is the standard because it minimizes the chances of your car breaking down again in the same way.

If new parts aren’t available, your mechanic should tell you that they intend to install used parts. This gives you a chance to consider other options and makes you aware that the repairs may not last as long as expected.

Unfortunately, some mechanics install used parts without warning. Even worse, sometimes these parts are as bad, or worse, than the part being replaced.

This is a form of fraud because you aren’t getting what you think you are paying for. Additionally, since the replacement part also has problems, you will likely end up needing to get additional repairs soon, costing you even more money.

Failure to Repair

Similar to using bad parts, your mechanic could simply fail to repair the problem with your car. This is often done by applying some type of temporary patch that disguises the problem without fixing it. For example, the mechanic could replace a drained battery rather than replace a bad starter. That would only temporarily solve the problem.

If your mechanic isn’t solving the true problem with your car, you will need to get the car serviced multiple times for the same issue. This could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars for no meaningful benefit.

Damage to the Car While in the Shop

A particularly frustrating outcome of bringing your car to a mechanic is when your car is damaged while it’s in the shop. You might bring your car in for something simple, like an inspection, only to discover that it is damaged when you bring it home.

If this happens, the mechanic should advise you and fix the damage at no cost. But sometimes the mechanic might try to hide the damage, hoping you won’t find it until much later, when you can’t be certain where it originated.

If you realize that your car was damaged, and the mechanic didn’t advise you of the fact, it’s best to contact a Morgan and Morgan attorney right away. We may be able to help you recoup the cost of the damages.

Overcharging

When you bring your car in for repairs, your bill will reflect two aspects of the repairs: the cost of parts and the time spent working on the car.

Mechanics charge a set rate for the time they spend working on your vehicle. This rate should be published by the mechanic, and you can always ask what it is before work begins. A mechanic is overcharging you if they charge you for more time than was spent working on the vehicle.

Additionally, your bill will include the cost of parts. You should be charged the exact cost the mechanic paid for these parts, without any surcharge. This cost can include shipping costs, if applicable.

Some mechanics will pad a bill by charging more for a part than it actually cost. You might be able to identify this by looking at the itemized costs on your bill. If you see a charge that seems too high, it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer, who can determine whether the bill reflects the true cost of the item.

Consequences of Bad Work

If a mechanic has performed bad work on your vehicle, intentionally or unintentionally, it will usually cost you money. But how much it costs you will depend on the circumstances.

The most likely result is that you will need to get additional repairs in the future. At a minimum, this usually costs at least as much as you spent on the original repairs. And if you have to take time off work to get the car repaired, it can also cost you income.

Sometimes, other parts of your car may break down due to bad repairs. In this situation, you will need to pay for the original repair work again, along with the additional repairs. This will often add substantial cost to the repairs and may even make your car unfixable.

The worst-case scenario is when bad repairs cause you to get into a car accident. For example, if your brakes weren’t properly repaired, they may fail while driving.

If you are in an accident, you could face massive costs, including:

  • Car repair or replacement
  • Medical bills
  • Lost workdays
  • Rental car costs while your car is being repaired
  • Other expenses, like the cost of a wheelchair

These are expenses that you can potentially sue a mechanic for if they result directly from the bad work they performed on your car.

Avoiding a Lawsuit

While you have the option to sue, it won’t always be your best option. As a rule of thumb, you should always explore all your options before deciding to take legal action against someone. The following are some options that may solve your problem. Before trying any of these options, you should consult with a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan.

Ask for Free Additional Repairs

Not all bad work is intentional. Sometimes, the mechanic simply makes a good-faith mistake. Maybe they believed they had fixed the problem but missed the true cause. Or perhaps they accidentally damaged another part of the car while fixing your car, and no one in the shop noticed.

If the mechanic is willing to correct the bad repairs for free, it is usually worth taking them up on the offer. You may be able to borrow a car from the mechanic for a day or get a ride with a friend if the extra time without a car would be problematic. Alternatively, you may be able to get a discount on future service.

Request a Refund

Once a mechanic has poorly repaired your car, you may not be willing to trust them again. This is understandable, but it also means you are out of the money you paid and your car is still broken.

While you won’t be able to get your lost time back, you may be able to get the money you spent returned. If the mechanic is amenable, request a refund. In this way, you at least have the money you spent on the repairs back in your pocket and can use it to pay another mechanic that you believe you can trust.

Negotiate a Settlement

Negotiating a settlement is a step short of filing a lawsuit, and you should always let an attorney negotiate for you. If you are negotiating a settlement, that means that you are looking for more than the money you paid for the repairs. Likely, you want additional money to pay for other expenses, like medical bills or lost work hours.

Typically, a mechanic—or more likely, an insurance company for the mechanic—will only agree to a settlement if you have a strong case that would likely win at trial. In that situation, it is worth negotiating to save everyone time and money.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • How Do I Sue a Mechanic for Bad Work?

    To sue a mechanic, you will need to prove the mechanic's bad work caused you harm. Since harm is defined in terms of money in civil law, you need to prove that the bad work resulted in expenses or losses that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

    The best person to determine whether the harm you suffered is worth filing a lawsuit is an experienced lawyer. They can tell you whether your case qualifies for a lawsuit and how much you can expect to win from a trial.

  • If I Am Considering a Lawsuit, What Are the First Things I Should Do?

    The first things you should do are contact an attorney and preserve evidence. Contacting a lawyer is easy. You can simply make a phone call to Morgan and Morgan or contact us online.

    To preserve evidence, you can use your camera. Take pictures of everything you think might be relevant to your case. This includes any damage to your car and all bills you received. Your attorney might ask you to preserve other evidence as well.

  • How Much Does the Initial Consultation With an Attorney Cost?

    Your initial consultation and case evaluation with Morgan & Morgan is always free. Even if you don’t choose us to represent your interests, you will not receive a bill. If you have any other questions about our fees, please feel free to speak with one of our attorneys at no cost for a full description of our billing practices.

  • Experienced Lawyers Can Help You Sue a Mechanic for Bad Work

    When you place your car in the hands of a mechanic, you are trusting them to return it to you in a better state than it was when they received it. If they breach that trust, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the losses you suffered as a result. 

    For a free case evaluation from an experienced attorney from Morgan and Morgan, contact us today.

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