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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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I have a 2008 Kia Optima with 148,000 miles. Took my car on

Customer Question

I have a 2008 Kia Optima with 148,000 miles. Took my car on January 29th to get an oil change. On February 18th I was told my engine is about to go by a mechanic. The mechanic looked at my engine to find out why and he said that whoever did the oil change put gas in where the oil goes. All I have is a receipt from Walmart. I never had any major mechanical problems with my. I bought it brand new in '08. I have been the only owner of the car. What can I do
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 9 months ago.

I am sorry to hear of this;

So basically a professional mechanic is liable for any reasonably foreseeable economic damages that result from his/her negligence.

A concise and detailed explanation of a prima facie case of negligence is here:

https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/civil/charges/5.10A.pdf

Basically, did the mechanic exercise ordinary care in carrying out the repairs to the automobile; if not, were the damages reasonably foreseeable and a direct result of the negligent act.

While the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the negligent act, there is a legal doctrine:

Res Ipsa Loquitor -

this means "the thing speaks for itself". So if one person had exclusive control of an item, and damage resulted during that time, the court may presume that the damage was as a matter of law caused by the person who had exclusive control of the item.

Small claims is appropriate if the economic damage (generally includes a rental car during repair period as that is reasonably foreseeable as a damage) is less than $3,000;

if less than $15,000, then special civil court.

https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/10290_small_claims.pdf

It is often fruitful to hire an attorney to prepare a demand letter, so that an out of court settlement can be facilitated.

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