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Washington State Auto Repair Laws

Colburn Law

Negligent Driving - Car Wreck

The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and scary, especially if you suffered significant damage to your vehicle. While the insurance company may offer to pay for your vehicle’s repairs after a collision, visiting a shop can be intimidating.

You may not know what exactly is wrong with your vehicle and how much it could cost you – and the mechanic may try to get you to pay for repairs you don’t need or overcharge you. However, Washington state law protects you from these shady business practices.

What Is the Auto Repair Act?

Under Washington state law, all auto repair facilities that operate within the state must follow the Auto Repair Act. An auto repair facility is any person, firm, or corporation that repairs motor vehicle for a fee, including vehicles that need collision repairs, mechanical or electrical components, or tune-ups.

The purpose of this law is to ensure you are receiving a fair estimate for your repairs, especially after a car accident. Under the Auto Repair Act, you have the following rights.

  • You have the right to a written estimate for all repairs that total over $100. Each estimate should include your odometer reading, the specific repairs you need, and the total estimated cost, including the cost of parts and labor.
  • The auto repair company cannot charge you more than 10% of the written estimate without your consent.

In addition, Washington state law protects you from additional costs by affording you the right to choose your own repair shop. You also have the right to have the mechanic restore your vehicle to its pre-accident state.

Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Mechanic?

Transparency is crucial when it comes to repairing your vehicle – however, there are several instances where auto mechanics violate the rights of consumers and offering lowball estimates. As a result, you could pay much more than you need to for your vehicle repairs – and this may be grounds for legal action, since the mechanic violated your rights under the Auto Repair Act.

You could file a lawsuit against a mechanic for a false estimate or failure to provide you with an estimate. In addition, there are many other instances under which you can file a lawsuit against a mechanic.

  • If the mechanic does not repair your vehicle or repairs your vehicle poorly, you could file a lawsuit against him or her. An ineffective repair could put you and your passengers at risk, and you are paying the mechanic to perform good work.
  • A mechanic may commit an act of fraud by taking advantage of your lack of knowledge about vehicles. He or she may pressure you into getting a repair you don’t need or charging you for a service he or she did not provide. In these situations, you may file a lawsuit against a mechanic.
  • Often, our vehicles come with warranties that cover certain repairs and services. The mechanics who work on our vehicles must honor these warranties – and if your mechanic breaches your warranty, you could file a lawsuit.

If you believe you have grounds to file a lawsuit against a mechanic, contact a Seattle car accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Do You Do If Your Car Is a Total Loss?

Sometimes, the damage you sustain in a car accident can be so severe that the vehicle is a total loss. This means that it would cost more to repair your vehicle than it would to purchase another car. If you do have a total loss claim, the insurance company should give you a settlement check that equals the full value of your losses.

Thanks to the Automotive Repair Act, you can visit a shop after a car accident and receive a fair estimate for your damage. However, not all mechanics adhere to these rules.

If a mechanic gives you a higher quote or tries to charge you for unnecessary repairs, you could file a lawsuit against him or her. Contact a Seattle personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal action.