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Warning... venting here about helping people out

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Old 12-15-2005, 07:59 PM
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twinkissed twinkissed is offline
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Warning... venting here about helping people out

You know... I never thought I would say this but I don't want to help people out anymore. My husband was helping an old lady fix her car and has saved her hundreds of dollars (he has fixed quite a few things for her). The last time while trying to reach something on her car, there was an exposed wire he didn't know about that shorted out her alternater and she says she is going to sue us for $170 because she won't wait until after Christmas for him to help her out. Then she is trying to say that she has him on video (without his knowledge) to prove he messed with her car. He said it wasn't his fault which really it wasnt and that he would try to find her an alternator. He said with four kids and Christmas that he wouldn't have the money right now and she said "That's your problem, not mine." So.... be wary, even though it's that time of year be careful doing people favors. This world has become so corrupt that they could turn around and sue you. I am so upset over this. I probably shouldn't be but I'm home alone with no one else to vent to so I hope you all see why I just had to vent here. Sorry.
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:26 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Location: Grand Junction CO USA
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I do not know where you are, but here if she sues, it will months before it gets to court, so let her sue! And of course if she does, then do nothing to the car till the suit is settled. So the result would be if she is nice to you, then maybe the car gets running again in Jan, if not it may be next spring or summer before it gets running, unless she pays someone else to fix it.

Of course you realize that this free advice is worth every penny you have paid for it
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:43 PM
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terivon terivon is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 41
Well, here's the deal.
First off, burdon of proof is on her part. She needs to prove to a court that the exposed wire was caused by his work, and/or negligence and was not pre-existing. It is not his burdon of proof to provide that evidence, she is making the charge, she needs to show that it existed as a result of his behavior, and was in no way, shape or form.. pre-existing. The truth of the matter, is unless you're talking about a wire that is necessary for the vehicle to function, it could absolutely be exposed, and just waiting for the right jostle or connection to complete the circuit and ground it out. She's blackmailing to get you to replace it. Let her sue.

Second off, she has to prove to a court that he represented himself as a professional mechanic, and that he guarantees his work. Volunteer work does not consititute professional representation in most states.

The odds are that the exposed wire issue existed before he worked on the car. A vehicle with mechanical problems pre-existing, not professionally evaluated with a diagnostic, falls into a shady area of gray here.
The key in most states with regard to legality, is the words "In Good Faith." In good faith, he offered his time and handyman skills. In good faith, accidents happen. While he has offered within a reasonable time frame to help her out, he's in all likelihood, not legally obligated to replace a part that was damaged by the faulty wiring that existed earlier.

Let her sue. It's small claims court, and judges have a very short fuse when it comes to asking for help then nailing the helper to the wall.

My 2 cents, but I'd call legal aid in your state to find out what the law states. Many lawyers offer a free consultation. find one in your area. They'll not take a case they can't win, and they won't bother with small claims, but they'll give you important information about what your state laws are in this instance.
Used to work for a lawyer in Texas..
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:44 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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She's not going to sue, and she doesn't have video. She's just another bitter senior, railing at the world they feel no longer relevant in. It's sad (for her) but she's less fixable than her car. I've met a lot of people like this.
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:41 PM
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Jeff L Jeff L is offline
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I wouldn't worry about it. The first thing anyone does anymore when they get upset is threaten to sue. When she calms down she will realize that she really screwed up. She may never admit it, but she will realize it....

Perhaps it is time she moved down to Florida eh Doug?
Or as I like to call it....Gods Waiting Room
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Old 12-16-2005, 01:09 AM
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twinkissed twinkissed is offline
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LOL that's where we are alright.

Thanks for the comments everyone. I truly feel better and just needed a little vent.

I found out from my husband (he was at his second job when she called and started all this) but she drove the car around for two days after he had worked on it. The wire had sparked and smoked a little but he actually did get the car running.

Earlier I thought why bother being nice anymore but you know.... after talking to my husband we decided, it wouldn't be fair to those who really need it to never have a chance because of a bad egg.

Teri your post made my husband cheer up a bit and it was nice to see some of the angles they will consider. Considering he works two jobs and barely sees his family, the fact that he took time out to help her, it's almost to where I feel sorry for her. I know she's had it rough which is why she's in the situation she's in and why we helped. I used to go visit just to give her company. I'm just going to go with whatever she dishes to us and enjoy knowing the fact that we were still doing the right thing.
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Old 12-16-2005, 02:44 AM
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chrishoggy chrishoggy is offline
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For what it's worth, I can tell you the old lady (if thats what you can call her) doesn't know what she's on about. I trained in the army as a Mechanic and can tell you that if the alternator had been damaged, the car couldn't have been used at all. In fact the battery would have been drained within 20-30 mins of the engine starting, and it would show the battery warning light at all times. Not only that, but a quick shorting of wires would not blow the alternator anyway, it would blow the main 30 Amp fuse. The only way to fry an alternator like that is to connect the battery directly to the alternator. I've shorted many starter motor wires and alternator wires in my time, and I have never once done anything other than blow a fuse. Usually happens when you drop a spanner down the back of the starter/alternator. Yes you get lots of sparks and a bit of smoke, but thats what happens when you short any high amp-age wires.
I would say she is pulling a stunt to try and get money. Fact is she had no reason to record the work he was doing, unless she had plans of doing something with it.
Tell her to sue you and prove that he caused any damage, because she can't and never will be able to.
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:04 PM
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chris h chris h is offline
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Almost worth getting the old bag into court to see her sliced up by the judge.
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