Skip to main content

My car was stolen from a car dealers lot where it was being serviced. They are telling us they have no liability for this.

Newport News, VA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

We brought the car for servicing when we went to pick up they could not find it. My husband suggested they call onstar to locate it. The vechicle was located and an arrest made but the dealer says they have no liability. The car was left unlocked in the lot?

Attorney Answers 1


When you take a car to a service garage for them to look it over or perform service on it, in most states you create what the law calls a "bailment”. That requires the shop to take reasonably good care of the car while it is in their custody. If they don’t, then if the vehicle is damaged while in their possession and control, you have a right to recover damages for what they do wrong or the damage they cause (or, if they don’t return the car at all, for the value of the car itself). But you have to be able to prove that the damage occurred while the garage had it and that they did not take reasonably good care of it. In other words, you have to be able to show that it was basically the fault of the service garage that it got damaged. The one exception to that is under a bailment contract, like you have here, where they return the vehicle back to you and it is not in substantially the same condition that it was in when you gave it to them. From your question, it is not clear whether there was damage to the car when it was recovered, or not. Under the bailment circumstance like you have here, in many states the service garage may have the burden of proof to show that they are not the reason for the loss or damage. Because the law is different in each state you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney. Call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you or you can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers ( and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a thumbs up below.

Mark as helpful

Lawsuits and disputes topics

Recommended articles about Lawsuits and disputes

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics