Can i sue my mechanic?

chevrolet
camaro

#1

I was in an accident in August 2015. The accident was my fault, but i had full coverage. I had the car towed to a local shop in feb. 2016 that specializes in classic cars. After receiving an estimate, my insurance company sent the mechanic a check to cover the front end damage to my 67 camaro SS (which was immaculate before the accident). A few weeks later, i called the mechanic to check the status and was told they needed more money to make the repairs. They said they contacted my insurance and they would be sending a check for the additional work. The check was sent to me and i brought it to the mechanic. A few weeks later, i called for the status and was told the same thing I received a third check from my insurance and gave it to the mechanic. THAT WAS OVER A YEAR AGO! I have since moved out of the area and my insurance has dropped me (dui). I had a friend go by the shop and take a look at my car and it looked exactly the same as it did right after the accident!

Everytime i call, i get every excuce in the book. 6Months ago i was told it was ready and going to the paint shop. Theyve also said parts are on special order, we are fixing extra stuff -free of charge, mechanic was in the hospital, etc. They could have rebuilt my car from scratch in the amount of time they’ve had it! Can i sue? What amount can i sue for? Should i have it towed away from the shop as is? Before or after i serve them with papers? Any advice would b very much appreciated. I am a female and it is difficult to act aggressively ahen i am not very familiar with cars. Thank you.


#2

Sorry, but legal advice from here is worthless. We don’t know the laws where ever you are. You are going to have to contact an attorney and the insurance company and let them know they might not have received anything for their money.


#3

Nice car, but you need to deal with the mechanic first, A face to face talk is the first step, lawsuit is the last step. In the Chicago area? I might volunteer to see the car and talk to the shop.


#4

The insurance co is obligated to make you whole again, especially if they if they chose the shop they still need to fix this. If you chose the shop they will argue that they paid you so you fix it. If they do not want to help, get an attorney to make some calls for you. The repair shop sounds like they have no interest in fixing your car


#5

What would I do? Go by there with a tow truck and title in hand and haul the car out of there. Maybe ask for a law enforcement officer to go along just to make sure there are no “problems”. There’s no excuse for the car sitting a year because early Camaro parts can be had.

I’d be worried that car would come up “missing” about the time the place decides to shut down.

Then notify the insurance company about what has not happened and put the onus upon them to get their money back.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been around the car world for a long time and usually when something like this is going on the end results are not good for the car owner.


#6

My advice is not to go to an automotive forum for legal advice. The advice you will get is worth every penny you (don’t) pay in legal fees. :wink:


#7

Sometimes a body shop is going broke and sells parts from the cars they are fixing. Body shops aren’t the only auto related places that have done it. Report them to the insurance company after you find out how to get the car back.


#8

The insurance company already dropped OP for dui

I’m not sure it’ll be easy to go through the insurance company at this point

I think the first thing is to show up in person, at the shop, and DEMAND satisfaction, but in a polite and firm manner.

The next step would be to seek legal advice


#9

Theoretically you can sue anybody for anything even if it does not have any merits. Now to have a successful suit, you need to build a case and that starts with talking to a lawyer. The problem is they are going to either charge you hourly, or based on percentage of proceeds which neither would work in your favor.

I say, grab a friend, a friend with a large frame or someone with some law enforcement background and go to the shop to see what is going on. You also should figure out if they have cashed the checks. The insurance company, even if not yours at this point, might have some interest knowing that they have paid for repairs that were never done. This is considered fraud. You can give a shout out to them and see if they will help you or maybe go after the shop.


#10

OMG! I missed that!

@amyvsd22, the first thing you need to do is read your insurance policy. There is a chance that because of the DUI, your insurance company decided not to cover this repair. According to my insurance policy, driving under the influence invalidates my policy completely.

This isn’t legal advice or car advice, this is public safety advice: Use public transportation. You’ll be safer and so will the rest of us.


#11

But, according to the OP, the insurance company issued three checks to cover the ever-increasing list of repairs. If those checks were cashed by the body shop, then the shop has committed fraud against the insurance company, NOT against the OP.

This should not be construed as legal advice but, if I was in that situation, I would do the following:

As ok4450 suggested, I would arm myself with a copy of the title to the car, go to the body shop with a tow truck and a sheriff’s deputy, and have the car removed from the premises.

I would notify the insurance company that no services were ever provided by the body shop, despite having received three checks from the insurance company. The insurance company will investigate, and will prosecute the body shop for fraud if their investigation confirms what you have stated.

Because the OP was insured at the time of the accident, it is possible that she can still receive the insurance benefits for the repair of the car, but the problem will be–at best–a huge delay in receiving them, as the insurance company will still have to recover their funds from the body shop before they can issue a check to the OP for repairs. In other words, after many months–or perhaps even a couple of years–the insurance company might be willing to re-issue a check to the OP, in light of the fact that the accident took place while she had a policy. Being dropped at a later point does not obviate coverage for an accident that took place while the OP was covered by a policy. However, in light of the DUI factor, it is entirely possible that the insurance company might disclaim responsibility for coverage IF the OP was intoxicated at the time of the accident. That could make all the difference in the world.

OP–You already told us that the accident was determined to have been your fault, but you didn’t tell us when the DUI charge was filed. Was that DUI charge connected with this accident, or did it take place subsequent to the accident? Can you clarify for us whether you were found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident?
:confused:

In summary, based on what the OP has described, SHE cannot sue the mechanic, but her former insurance company surely could. The insurance company was defrauded, but the OP was not.


#12

We could go back and forth all day on “what if” scenarios. Nobody knows what conversations have taken place between the body shop and the OP’s former insurance company. Nor is it any of our business (and possibly the OP’s business - depending on the insurance policy terms) what the two parties discussed.

I seriously doubt the insurance company is going to spend any time or money trying to help a former customer they dropped for driving under the influence. Besides, we’ve seen no evidence the insurance company was defrauded. All we have to go on is one side of the story. I wouldn’t make any assumptions based on such scanty evidence, even if I was inclined to give legal advice.


#13

Well, it would be helpful if the OP would return to clarify some matters. That way we would be doing less speculating.


#14

Call your insurance company. They can put a lot of pressure on the shop.

As for readily available parts - There are many aftermarket and original parts available. Hell you can buy a BRAND NEW rolling chassis.


#15

We can only help with car problems.
You have a legal problem. Talk to a lawyer. :slight_smile:


#16

They could, but I’m not sure why they would for a customer they dropped because of a DUI. The OP hasn’t likely paid insurance premiums to this company in more than a year.


#17

True…but the insurance company is the one paying the bills…so they have a vested interest.


#18

If I understand it correctly, OP got the DWI long after the wreck. At least in my state, an insurance company is still on the hook for getting the car fixed if you were insured at the time of the wreck - even if you cancelled your policy the next day.

That said, there’s a lot of suspicious things going on here. I don’t understand why the insurance company kept cutting checks while dust gathered on the car without bothering to look into why the repairs kept getting more and more expensive with no discernible progress on the repair.


#19

Exactly!
That is a…nuance…that a lot of other forum members didn’t seem to understand.


#20

I expect you are already aware that a 67 Camaro is going to be a considerably more difficult repair job than a 2007 Camry. One idea: You may not be using the right shop for the job. Are there a lot of old cars parked around that shop? Cars that look like they haven’t been moved in ages? The reason I’m asking is b/c there’s a shop like that here in the San Jose, and it seems like that is their business model. Somehow they end up with a big inventory of old cars, probably held on mechanics leans. Usually the insurance company would warn you of something like that tho. Maybe ask your insurance company if they’ve ever had problems with this particular shop failing to do the work on a reasonable schedule.

If I had this problem my first objective would be to remove the car from that shop, then find a shop who is experienced in repairing vintage Camaros. Most areas have Camaro clubs for enthusiasts. they’d know the best shops to fix your car. Google may shows some classic Camaro or classic muscle car clubs in your area.