Joe’s tractor needed an oil change. He drove to a nearby shop and paid for the service. Once complete, Joe headed down the road with his rig. Within moments, the dash started flashing, showing engine problems. Turns out, the mechanic who did the oil change didn’t put the plug back in correctly. The oil had drained out and Joe’s engine was permanently damaged.
Joe called the shop but they didn’t want to do anything. He called a wrecker and had his semi hauled to a local dealership. There was so much damage it was going to need a new engine. This was going to be a very expensive oil change!
What should Joe do?
Joe should save all damaged parts and take lots of pictures and videos. He should hire his own expert mechanic to assess the damage, document how and why the damage occurred, and make the repairs. If Joe can prove the shop caused the damage, that shop should replace Joe’s engine.
Almost every failed oil change case has additional out-of-pocket losses. Joe ended up losing several weeks of income while his equipment was being repaired. He also had towing, hotel and rental bills. Joe should gather all these receipts and demand payment for all of his losses. If the shop won’t pay, Joe may want to consider filing suit.
Truck owners often have great relationships with their hometown mechanics. But what happens when a tractor breaks down 1,000 miles from home? A trucker has to make his or her best attempt to locate a reputable shop near the breakdown. Unfortunately, all shops aren’t reputable and some fail to repair equipment properly, making matters worse and creating even more damage. This is called mechanical negligence. While laws vary by state, a trucker generally has the right to go after a shop for their bad work.
Be aware: before accepting or signing any shop’s estimates or invoices, read the front and back of all paperwork. There might be fine print that could hurt you. Read each line carefully and cross out and initial anything unacceptable. Many shops try to protect themselves from having to pay for damage and downtime they cause.
Your focus, as a business owner, should be to get your equipment repaired and back on the road as quickly as possible. You have a business to run! This might mean paying for the repairs yourself and getting reimbursed by the at-fault shop later. Or, it might mean renting temporary equipment while yours is in the shop. While it’s important to hold mechanics responsible for their bad work, it’s even more important to protect your business and get back on the road.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
For more information on this or other legal issues, please contact
The Law Offices of Eckert & Associates, P.A.