I am sorry to hear this! That is a lot of money for an oil issue; presumably the mechanic can confirm the engine gave out because of a lack of oil.
There are 2 possible causes of action that can be brought when a party fails to act competently. These are listed below:
An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)
For breach of a contract, the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant paying for the damages (ie cost of repair, tow services). They need to be reasonably foreseeable and proximately caused by defendant's breach (ie a direct result of the breach)
2. Negligence is defined as a failure to perform with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but may consist of omissions when there is some duty to act. This cause of action has 5 elements: the existence of a legal duty to exercise reasonable care; a failure to exercise reasonable care; harm caused by the negligent conduct; physical harm of actual damages; and proximate cause (reasonably foreseeable damages).
The small claims is the proper venue, for claims under $10,000. Information on that process is here.
It is standard practice to first send out a demand letter, requesting the repair/compensation; if that is not forthcoming, then filing litigation is the next standard step.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.