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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 28090
Experience:  Lawyer
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My husband and I own an auto body shop and we do insurance

Resolved Question:

My husband and I own an auto body shop and we do insurance work based on claims. My husband got to work one morning and a Mercedes Benz had been towed to our shop during the night. We had contact with the owner who contacted his insurance and filed a claim. The insurance company sent out an appraiser and they wrote an estimate to our shop to make the repairs. After the estimate had been sent to us, the insurance company issued a check to the owner of the car for the repairs. The owner notified us today that he cashed the check to pay his mortgage(s) and now does not have the money to pay for the repairs that we started when the estimate was received. What are our rights in this situation?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
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Lucy, Esq. :

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Lucy, Esq. :

Did the owner ever tell you to start work on the car?

Customer:

Yes there was a verbal agreement to repair the vehicle

Lucy, Esq. :

Ok. In that case, you have two causes of action: (1) you can sue because you had an agreement to repair the vehicle, you began work, and then he said he wasn't going to pay you.

Lucy, Esq. :

(2) There is a theory called "unjust enrichment." Basically, that means that you performed a service with the expecation of being paid, he allowed you to begin work, and it would be unfair for him to get the value of the work without paying you.

Customer:

The first we understand is a given. I am not sure we understand what the second option does for us. Can you explain further how this will help us?

Lucy, Esq. :

Basically, if he denies the contract, and the judge believes him, you'll still win.

Lucy, Esq. :

So, you want to list both theories in the Complaint, because it doubles your chances of success.

Customer:

Should we still contact the insurance company and the lender who holds the title?

Lucy, Esq. :

Call the insurance company, and see what they say. If the vehicle is financed (and not fully paid), they may be very upset with the owner for deciding not to have the work done.

Customer:

Thank you for your time. It gives us confidence in the decisions we have already made.

Lucy, Esq. :

You're welcome. Good luck getting your money.

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