If you recently hired a mechanic, there are different reasons you might consider suing a mechanic. This includes failure to fix the issues you paid for, or creating new problems that worsen your situation. If you’re in a frustrating situation involving a mechanic, you can pursue legal action through simple steps.
You probably heard about horror stories involving mechanics, where someone brought their vehicle into the shop for repairs only to later pick it up and realize the issues got worse. Even a simple tire change could cause the need for a new paint job if the mechanic was not careful in the process. Also, you could receive a bill with services you never expected or wanted. All these situations can justify taking legal action against a mechanic. You can use your local county clerk’s office to file the lawsuit and get a date to present your case before a judge. Here are the guidelines showing how you can approach legal action against a mechanic.
Improper Mechanic’s Lien
There are many situations you could need an auto repair negligence attorney. In some circumstances, a mechanic’s shop can place a lien on your vehicle. A valid lien grants the right to seize the vehicle as payment against a debt you owe. However, this is more complicated than that.
Most shops and mechanics only use this as a last resort. They use it when all other options for payment are exhausted. If the mechanic constantly threatens you with liens for being late on a payment a day or two, you can consider this a red flag. Also, not all mechanics have the power to place a lien on your vehicle, as unlicensed contractors are not allowed to do so for amounts more than $500. However, they can still sue you without the lien.
To create a valid lien, the mechanic must meet certain timelines and also offer specific information. If they fail to adhere to any guidelines, the lien is considered legally invalid. The mechanic must offer a preliminary notice within 20 days of providing the service notifying you of the intent to place the lien on your vehicle. After the notification, the mechanic must file a lawsuit within 90 days to seek court approval to finalize the lien. If any of this is not done, the judge can rule the lien invalid. When a judge rules a lien invalid, you can sue the mechanic for compensation.
Shoddy work is annoying, and it’s a valid reason to sue a bad mechanic. This is especially the case if the poor work leads to an injury or harm to a third party (vehicle accident). However, an imperfect service does not always translate to poor workmanship. What you need to ask is whether the work meets reasonable expectations. For example, if the mechanic installed the wrong part, they’re clearly incompetent. Poor workmanship that trigger an accident qualifies you to sue the mechanic for personal injuries and bad workmanship.
Can You Sue a Mechanic for Taking Too Long?
The suing a car repair shop law offers different provisions, so you can sue them for taking too long, but this is not a straightforward answer. The problem is in determining the amount of time that would be considered “too long”.
Some vehicles are difficult to work on, maybe because of complex systems, or because the parts are hard to find. Only in rare cases will it take months to find the right part; this often happens when dealing with old antiques. The dealer should keep you updated on the situation and offer reasonable expectations.
However, you have grounds if the mechanic put off work because of reasons like laziness, procrastination, or a lack of resources. If they held your car for over a month without doing the repairs and could not give you a good reason, you can sue for the delay. Also, breaching anything outlined in the original contract is a reason to sue. If they promised to finish in one months but took three months, you can sue for breach of contract or negligence.
Fraud, Scams, and Deception
This is one of the reasons people file lawsuits against mechanics. If you were in a situation where your mechanic attempted to scam or defraud you, this is a valid reason to sue them. Fraud and deception includes inflating bills, charging imaginary fees, lying about services, or charging for things they never provided. One of the scams includes charging clients for a new part, yet the mechanic used a second-hand part from the junkyard. Fraud and deception are all valid reasons to file a lawsuit against a mechanic.