Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

I had my car fixed at a repair shop and I pick it up Friday afternoon I drove the car less than 20 miles out together and I just spent 1500 dollars having repairs done from the shop in the last 2 weeks. One of the repairs wss to replace the water pump. In those 20 miles the car was making noises and started smoking and then it stalled and it stopped working I had a tow truck drivers pick it up and take it back to the shop. When I left on Friday the mechanic said that the car would be smoking because of the sludge was burning off on the thing that they fix now the repair guy saying that it was the head gaskit blew. Since I drove it less than 20 miles from picking it up on Friday afternoon and it broke on a Saturday morning are they not liable for any of the damage done to my car? I need to know if there's any legal grounds I can stand on? I can't afford another $2000 to make the car running again it is a 2003 S40 Volvo. If you have any advice would really like to know thank you very much.

Asked on 7/18/13, 1:24 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

The fact that a car was just in for repairs doesn't make the shop liable for something that fails even 5 minutes after the car leaves the shop. If a plumber comes in and replaces your toilet flush valve are they responsible when your water heater fails as they are pulling out of the driveway? I don't know a whole lot about cars, but I'm pretty confident that the head gasket has nothing to do with the water pump. But really that's something to ask another mechanic. If they removed the head cover and/or gasket in the course of any of the repairs that they did, then I would say you have a good case that they should have seen it was failing, or maybe they even put it back on wrong. But if the work they did had nothing to do with the head gasket, then they are no more responsible for it than if you got a flat tire 20 miles out from the shop. It is all about causation. Did they do something wrong or fail to do something they were supposed to do, and that caused the blown gasket? If yes, then you have a case, but if it just failed without them touching it, or having agreed to do something to it that they failed to do, you have no case.

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Answered on 7/18/13, 1:57 pm

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