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Car Caught Fire while driving home from Auto Service Shop

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by th4753, Jul 7, 2013.

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  1. th4753

    th4753 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I took my car in to get recommended maintenance done:

    Timing belt
    Tune up
    Water pump

    VW Jetta 2004 at 100,000 miles. Car has been running PERFECTLY fine up till this point and this was necessary maintenance for this many miles.

    I dropped car off at the same place I have been taking my car for years. Yesterday I picked the car up and while on my way home at a red light the car stalled. Then wouldn't turn over, then started smoking, I got out of the car, and opened the hood at which point flames erupted from the engine compartment.

    I moved away from the vehicle where I proceeded to watch it become engulfed in flames until fire and police arrived to extinguish the the fire.

    The car is 100% totaled. I have spoken with my insurance company and will hear from the adjuster come Monday. I left a message with the auto repair place and they called me back and asked me about the incident and said they will contact their insurance company Monday as well.

    Questions:

    What legal recourse do I have? (I understand the burden of proof is on me to prove that the auto repair facility did something that caused this.)

    Will the insurance company send an investigator out to figure out how this started?

    Is it worth pursuing a suit against the service shop? (The vehicle caught on fire with me in it, so my life was definitely at risk.)

    Respectfully,
    TH
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You are correct sir. You can sue, but why waste your time. After the insurance company totals it, your damages will have been remedied. You can't sue on what if. You sue on what did.

    Probably not, it's a 14 year old car with over 100,000 miles. It's worth about $5,000 to $6,000. It's just an old, car that outlived its intended shelf life.



    I would take my insurance payout and let it go. No one is responsive for a 14 year old car dying. It lived 5 or 6 years longer than most of its siblings.
     
  3. th4753

    th4753 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    It's not 14-years old, where did you get that from? 2004 --> 2013 is 9-years. And it just turned 100,000 miles. That's just over 11,000 miles a year (low wear and tear on the car).

    Anyway, thanks for the reply.
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I would say wait until or unless the insurance adjuster is able to show that the repair/service shop did or did not do something that specifically caused the fire. AJ may not be good at math but he is right about the rest - you can't sue for something that might happen, only what did happen.
     
  5. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Generally you report something like this to your ins. co. which you did - they will handle. (then go from there)
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    14 years old, 9 years old with 100,000 miles is just a dead car idling.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It will not likely be possible to point to a specific thing that will hold the service company responsible. Perhaps they failed to do something, but any evidence likely burned in the fire.
    I would expect a failure to refill the oil or coolant caused the vehicle to overheat, seize, and ignite. Low or empty oil or low/empty coolant should have registered on your dash warning lights and gauges. You could have some responsibility for not stopping the car sooner or checking these things prior to leaving the shop.
    Odds are that your insurance will simply pay out the value of this vehicle as it is by far the cheapest way to resolve the problem for all involved.
     

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