Is an oil change facility responsible for lost wages when they damage a vehicle?

Asked over 2 years ago - Hempstead, TX

I recently (6/22/12) had an oil and fuel filter change done on a new pickup that i use for my business. During the course of the fuel filter change, the mechanic did not tighten the filter cap down, allowing air to enter the system and causing damage to the fuel pump. This caused me to miss a freight load worth $3000 on Friday, and now the truck is with Ford waiting repair. My question is basically, should the place that screwed up a brand new, perfectly fine truck be responsible for providing recompense for the lost wages?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Coby L. Wooten

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It is possible. I would recommend you make a claim and even maybe talk to the business manager. If you cannot come to an agreement then, in Texas, you can sue for up to $10,000.00 in damages in Justice Court without the need of having to hire an attorney. Alternatively you can always consult with an attorney about pursuing a potential claim pursuant to the Deceptive Trade Act.

  2. Patrick R. Scott

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Maybe. As a general rule, when someone causes an injury/harm to you they are responsible for putting you in the position you were in prior to the loss. In other words, they must "make you whole." The real question is whether the damages you sustained for lost wages were reasonably foreseeable. In other words, by negligently changing the fuel filter, could the mechanic have reasonably foreseen that it may cause you to miss the freight load? Since you used the truck for your business, it appears to have been reasonably foreseeable you may have missed a job due to the mechanic's negligence. This assumes the truck had markings of a work vehicle and the mechanic knew it was a work vehicle.

    As Mr. Wooten pointed out, you can file suit in small claims court for up to $10,000. Prior to filing any suit, I would contact the insurance company of the oil change business and try to negotiate your claim. If they are not willing to recognize your lost wage claim, then you may want to consider hiring a lawyer to pursue your claim. Keep all documentation you have concerning every aspect of the claim. Any documented admission you have from the company will be extremely important if the claim ends up in litigation.

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