How to gather additional evidence for small claims court?

Asked over 3 years ago - Anaheim, CA

A mechanic damaged my vehicle when I went in for headlight bulb replacement. These mechanics removed my headlights entirely to conduct the bulb change when every online guide and owner's manual shows that headlight removal is never stated as a procedure. During the headlight removal, parts of my headlight became damaged as force was used during the removal and in the process of placing the headlight back into place. I spoke with the mechanics and the BAR and filed a complaint. The mechanics told me to bring my vehicle in on the weekend to have them try to fix it. I don't trust my vehicle with them and they don't want to give me a write up of what the "fix" will consist of. What can I do? If I go down there what can I get from them to help me with court? Thanks!

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You should subpoena BAR's entire file for the small claims trial. Use this form SC-107:

  2. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Unless the damage was very extensive and very costly, you would be better served getting the damage repaired rather than preparing a court case. A successful court case is unlikely to result in anything more than the cost of repairs, and even a small claims case can take considerable time and effort with a possibility of not succeeding. You have successfully put the auto repair facility on the BAR's radar and the facility knows that. The possibility that they are going to engage in anything fraudulent at this point is exceedingly small. They have no way of knowing whether you might be participating in a BAR "sting" (very common) and few if any facilities would gamble with that at this stage.

    I disagree with attorney Chen about issuing a subpoena for BAR's file.They are likely to resist that effort with full legal process and then you are in for an expensive, time-consuming and potentially unsuccessful fight.

    I recommend that you talk to a BAR staff person about the facility's offer and follow the recommendation there. Try not to get caught up in the "contest." A satisfactory settlement that makes you whole in terms of your financial loss is ALWAYS better than even the best lawsuit.

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