The majority of car repairs are worth making and usually go smoothly, but sometimes repair jobs can go wrong. Whether it was an accident or not, you need to know what you options are if the mechanic you trusted with fixing your vehicle causes damage to your car or if damage occurs while your car is in their garage or repair shop
Step #1: Talk to Your Mechanic
The good news is most mechanics are professionals. They depend on solid word-of-mouth referrals to keep business flowing, and they don't want a bad rep shadowing their business. Sometimes damages are the result of honest mistakes or an oversight that leads to a faulty repair.
Take the higher road and talk to your mechanic. Explain the issue, what you expected from the transaction, and why you're not satisfied. In most cases, when the mechanic or their garage is at fault, once you alert them to a damage issue, they will do everything possible to remedy the situation.
Step #2: Decide Who Pays
You dropped your car off for repairs, and now there are dings and scratches down the side of the car. They weren't there when you dropped it off. What options do you have?
- Point the issue out immediately. This is the best course of action. Hopefully, you'll see the damage before driving away. Point it out. Be polite, but be forceful in your stance that you're not paying for body work when it wasn't needed before dropping your car off.
- Auto shops carry liability insurance. If the mechanic is less than open to fixing the damages they've caused, point out that legitimate shops carry liability insurance for just this sort of situation. But know that if the damage was caused by a random act of vandalism, the shop might not be held liable. You'll need to work together to determine just how the damage occurred.
- Look into a hold harmless agreement. What if the mechanic is determined to push the damages back to your insurance? It's time to look into a hold harmless agreement. In some states, if a shop has a sign stating they are not responsible for theft or loss of property, they effectively avoid liability, which means damages to your vehicle – unless directly caused by their repair work – will revert to your insurance.
Step #3: Suing the Auto Repair Shop
While not the most pleasant of options, you might have the choice to sue the auto repair or mechanic's shop for damages. For example, if no hold harmless agreement was signed and no sign disclaiming liability was clearly posted, you may be able to sue. In this case, you'll want to discuss your case with a car insurance lawyer.