Smalls claims for auto damage

This is a discussion on Smalls claims for auto damage within the Business and Financial Law Questions forums, part of the Legal Questions & Answers Forum category; I recently took my car into a certified mechanic shop due to hearing a noise in the front end. The mechanic told me that I needed to replace a stabilizer ...

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  1. #1
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    Smalls claims for auto damage

    I recently took my car into a certified mechanic shop due to hearing a noise in the front end. The mechanic told me that I needed to replace a stabilizer link and that it would cost 180.00.
    After paying him for the work I noticed that the sound was still there. I took it back to him and he drilled a hole into my ball joint to put grease in it. I thought this was a sensible move at the time.

    This did not resolve the issue at all. 3 days later as I was driving at around 35mph the ball joint broke. The result was that my tire was slashed and my wheel and suspension were laying on the ground. Multiple other things were wrong with my car but I did not know this at the time since the front end was touching the ground.

    I had the auto towed to his shop to give him the chance to work something out with him since at that time I knew that drilling into a ball joint is not a valid way to repair a problem and is dangerous.

    He offered to fix my car and charge me for just the parts. I thought this was reasonable since I could not prove that his work caused the accident. He charged me another 250 for a ball joint and a used tire. I picked up my vehicle from him and drove it home. It over heated on the way. I lifted the hood and found the blower motor to my car sitting on top of my engine. The housing to this motor and the cover for the wheel well were ripped out of the car and no longer there. Multiple electronic connections were disconnected by him as well.

    The radiator is bent up on my car which seized the fan which in result overloaded a thermocouple needed to cool my car. I do not know the extent of the cost to repair my vehicle although I do know that the thermocouple alone is 400 from a dealership. I have driven the car only briefly but it also has steering issues and brake issues now.

    I have receipts for the work done. This mechanic is "reputable and certified" however I do not feel comfortable taking my car back to him and trying to work out another solution since that did not seem to work so far.

    What course of actions are open to me in the state of Ohio? Am I obligated to take it back to him a third time? I have documented the damage with photos and will be taking it to another mechanic for an estimate of the repair cost.

    Last edited by taser; 07-09-2012 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Small claims would definitely sound like an option on this one. But one thing to keep on mind is that small claims court is still going to cost you some money. The small claims court limit in Ohio is $3,000, so if you think it'll cost under that, then it might be a good option.

    Additionally, another thing to keep in mind is that the Ohio attorney General's office in Ohio is famous for being very responsive regarding poor or disreputable business practices. You might want to contact them and see what additional rights for recourse they might suggest. They generally will push businesses hard for response and if this mechanic wants to keep his license, he would do well to respond to them.

    Also, what has the mechanic been saying to you in response at this point?

  3. #3
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    At this point he has stated that he knows nothing about why the electrical devices were disconnected. He stated that the wheel caused the motor housing and wheel wheel well cover to blast away and are probably on the road somewhere. I know he disconnected the blower motor and set it on top of my engine so that it would not make noise when I left his parking lot. The whole deal is dishonest I think. He says he can fix it but it will cost me at which point I ended the conversation. We did not even discuss the damage to the radiator, or the other problems I have discovered in the 7 days since I picked my vehicle up. It has been parked this whole time and is not safe to drive.

  4. #4
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    Well, first things first are to determine the amount of the damage, once you have determined this, your most viable option will be to approach him with the estimates and settle on something where he agrees to pay. It would be incumbent on you to keep incredibly detailed notes and records. Also you mentioned that you have photograph evidence regarding the damage to your vehicle, and it would be good for you to also contact your insurance company to see if they have any recommendations regarding a reputable mechanic.

    Additionally, what vivavian said on this topic regarding the attorney general's office in Ohio is certainly true. They are vigorous in prosecuting offending businesses, and knowing that you have legal rights in this regard should be helpful. Get as much information as you can and take this information to the company who did the original repairs and explain that you would like to work something out and you're more likely to get a resolution without need to sue them. But if it comes down to it, you will be able to sue and may be able to get a judgement against the mechanic.
    Legal Disclaimer: Answers to questions on this forum are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute Legal Advice. No attorney-client relationship is established through this forum.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Help View Post
    Well, first things first are to determine the amount of the damage, once you have determined this, your most viable option will be to approach him with the estimates and settle on something where he agrees to pay. It would be incumbent on you to keep incredibly detailed notes and records. Also you mentioned that you have photograph evidence regarding the damage to your vehicle, and it would be good for you to also contact your insurance company to see if they have any recommendations regarding a reputable mechanic.

    Additionally, what vivavian said on this topic regarding the attorney general's office in Ohio is certainly true. They are vigorous in prosecuting offending businesses, and knowing that you have legal rights in this regard should be helpful. Get as much information as you can and take this information to the company who did the original repairs and explain that you would like to work something out and you're more likely to get a resolution without need to sue them. But if it comes down to it, you will be able to sue and may be able to get a judgement against the mechanic.

    Thank you for the information. I have one more question. Am I obligated to take it back to him again and try to work out another repair agreement before I can take him to court? I already went through this with him once and he did not repair all of the broken items and left parts on my car unhooked so I would not hear any noise when I left his garage... I am sure he will agree to agree with me when I am there to fix things for a "price" but I understand how he operates and do not want to go through this all over again if it can be avoided. I see the quality of work and the cost cutting he does and I really do not want to deal with him anymore. I also do not feel like I should have to pay the cost for anymore parts the vehicle needs since the damage is due to his incompetence. Bottom line is that all of the current damage to my vehicle is due to his recklessness. I just do not trust him to work on my car again. Ideally I would take it to a national repair shop and have him foot the bill for the damages to be repaired however I do not see him agreeing to that.
    Last edited by taser; 07-10-2012 at 12:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    You're not legally required in any way to take your car back to that mechanic. You have no legal obligation to only work with that mechanic. In fact, it's the opposite, you have the legal right not to work with that mechanic.
    Legal Disclaimer: Answers to questions on this forum are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute Legal Advice. No attorney-client relationship is established through this forum.


 

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