If we have learned one thing over the years of representing clients with car issues, it is that cars are only machines and machines have problems. Sometimes, we know what the problem is. Sometimes, the car just doesn’t function and no one can figure out what is wrong. When a mechanic is able to figure out the defect, that’s easy. Either the problem can be fixed or it can’t. When the mechanic cannot figure out what is wrong, that makes our lives more difficulty. So, here is something simple you can do to make sure you protect your legal claim:
First, let’s assume this problem: You buy a new car. Every time it rains, the car leaks and you have water on your floor mats. You take the car to the dealership. The body shop says it can’t find the leak, but applies some repairs anyway. Over the next few months, the car continues to leak, but the dealership cannot fix it.
The first thing we look for is a recognition of the defect you are complaining about. In other words, does the body shop note on your work orders that it was able to duplicate the problem? If so, that’s great for your case. However, what can we do if the body shop continues to note on your work orders that it is unable to duplicate the problem? At that point, you have to document the problem yourself.
Almost everyone is carrying a video camera with them at all times of the day, i.e. our cell phones. In the example above, simply take out your phone and record some video or images of the wet floor and wet door frame. In cases like water leaks, we love the video of someone showing a dry towel or piece of paper, putting the dry sheet on the wet surface, and watching the water absorb. That is highly effective.
The video camera may be used to document other defects as well. A few months ago, we had a client call whose vehicle shifted violently at a certain speed. Once again, the dealership kept reporting that it was unable to duplicate the defect. So, we asked our client to have a passenger video the violent shift and shake the next time it happened. Instant support for our client’s lawsuit.
If you bought a car that is suffering from defects, use the tools that are around you every day. As long as you take the videos or pictures, they are 100% admissible in court.