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Old 04-10-2010, 10:55 AM
 
1 posts, read 9,663 times
Reputation: 18

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I took my car into a shop in Omaha, Nebraska for alot of basically cosmetic work. There was nothing wrong with my engine. One of the things they did, was a routine oil change. They screwed it up and failed to put the drain plug in properly and it fell out a few days later while I was driving on a 70 mile trip. As soon as I new something was wrong, I stopped and called the shop. They admitted fault and towed my car to their shop and worked on it for 2 weeks.

Final result is that the engine is ruined and his insurance company wants to give me what they say is blue book value for the car and total it out for about $1150.00.

My question is this, is the Mechanic "Obligated" to replace the engine that his shop destroyed despite the overall blue book value of the car?

Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,214 posts, read 11,877,433 times
Reputation: 2021
Does a bear **** in the woods?

Yes they're obligated to fix your car.

Key word here is "his insurance co", not yours, want's to total it....which sounds fishy to me. It sounds to me like a replacement engine might perhaps cost more than the way the car was "described" and the shop is looking for an easier way out....like lowballing you on the car as opposed to the price and labor of another engine.

IMO you shouldn't be out of a vehicle just because some incompetent mechanic didn't tighten down the oil drain plug. It's bad enough they have your car now, they just need to suck it up, fix it right, and get it back to you, not make you have to just "give up" and start looking for something else to drive.

Bottom line, unless they're going to give you the true value of the car (which I know they're not) I'd say "no, fix the damn thing....AND DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME!"
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:10 AM
 
19,127 posts, read 11,342,056 times
Reputation: 7119
What year make and model anyway?
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 7,951,351 times
Reputation: 2267
I doubt you're going to be able to force them to pay to replace an engine when doing so will cost as much or more than the car is worth.

If the car's book value is only $1150, then they aren't going to pay $800 or more to put a new engine in.

And I'd be willing to bet that somewhere in the contract is a clause that lets them.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:02 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,851 posts, read 17,682,962 times
Reputation: 18973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kammala View Post
I took my car into a shop in Omaha, Nebraska for alot of basically cosmetic work. There was nothing wrong with my engine. One of the things they did, was a routine oil change. They screwed it up and failed to put the drain plug in properly and it fell out a few days later while I was driving on a 70 mile trip. As soon as I new something was wrong, I stopped and called the shop. They admitted fault and towed my car to their shop and worked on it for 2 weeks.

Final result is that the engine is ruined and his insurance company wants to give me what they say is blue book value for the car and total it out for about $1150.00.

My question is this, is the Mechanic "Obligated" to replace the engine that his shop destroyed despite the overall blue book value of the car?

Thanks.
Only if you sue him, can prove damages, and get a judgment.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 8,304,828 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
Only if you sue him, can prove damages, and get a judgment.

20yrsinBranson
Yep, this is the legal lay of the land in this case. Sorry to say but you're gonna need a lawyer to get this claim to come out right by not letting the insurance company "have it their way".
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:33 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 2,194,774 times
Reputation: 1922
I would have an independant mechanic look at it. I would not have it repaired at the present mechanic. When dealing with the insurance company, go for private sale, not trade in... ask for compensation for rental car, and ask if you can buy your car from the insurance company if you want to keep it. Once you settle, the car becomes property of the insurance company.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:19 PM
 
8,286 posts, read 22,030,562 times
Reputation: 7988
This is one of those difficult situations for all parties, but it is why a shop has "errors and omissions" coverage in their business liability coverage.

While the shop has admitted they caused the problem, they have also submitted a claim to their insurance carrier to resolve the problem. Apparently, your car wasn't worth very much in today's marketplace, given it's age/make/model/condition, even with a running motor.

The problem here is that it's unlikely the shop could find a comparable used condition serviceable motor to replace yours with. So, if they had to rebuild the motor, or install an "exchange rebuilt" motor, there would be a substantial betterment to your car ... which the shop isn't liable for, you are. Are you be prepared to pay that betterment amount?

Even if you make a case that the car was a runner when you brought it in to the shop, and it now no longer runs through no fault of your own ... the shop isn't obligated to give you something better than you had. And I agree with the above poster that I wouldn't want the same shop that messed it up being the one to restore it to roadworthiness. R&R time alone, plus misc materials, hoses, fluids, and so forth could easily be the bettter part of $1,000 on almost any easy to work on car today ... and a lot of them aren't so easy anymore. (The concept of dropping a VW air-cooled motor on the floor in 1/2 hour simply doesn't apply to more recent cars ....)

Without knowing the car invovled, it's difficult here to give you any price points. But I suspect that you could wind up spending as much on your car in betterment costs than it is worth, and that's not a good deal for you, either.

IMO, you'd do best to make as good a case as possible for the value of your car in the local marketplace, and accept that sum + taxes + fees, and a reasonable amount for a car rental while the transportation issue is resolved. Once the insurance company pays you, then you're on your own.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:40 PM
 
889 posts, read 1,930,555 times
Reputation: 653
You can price around a used engine and the labor to put it in and add 10% for other stuff that is going to come up and see what the price would be. You have to accept what the insurance and the shop are paying, if not you can ask for what you want. If they don't budge, you can take the shop to small claims court. What you have to do right now is get a piece of paper and write every event/discussion down with date and time and names on it. Make sure you have documentation of the shops accepting fault. He/she said is not going to fly in court. You are also entitled to a rental while your car is out of commission. You have to be calm and patient and in the meantime make the case that you are not going to settle for BS. When you drop the name of your lawyer people tend to back off a bit. Right now you are a nuisance to them and have to go away ASAP.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Chicago
36,348 posts, read 57,054,102 times
Reputation: 25218
They are not obligated to do repairs in excess of the value of the car. If the amount they're offering is a realistic reflection of its market value before they kacked up the engine, take the check and move on.
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