Asked in Civil Litigation

Q: Can I sue someone for selling me a car with unfixable damage if the problems aren’t listed in the description?

I purchased a car under two months ago and it was sold to me with an unfixable problem that was not listed in the sale, the car was advertised as “reliable” but when I took it to a mechanic a month after the purchase they told me the engine was beyond repair and there was no point in keeping the car. This issue has caused me a lot of stress and sadness. The emotional damage caused to me because of this issue has affected my relationships and my own mental health, and to lose $6000 because I was not aware of this issue is ridiculous.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Generally, buying a used vehicle means buying it as-is and at your own risk. It also means that a buyer's failure to get an inspection before buying can be a huge problem in a lawsuit. On the other hand, depending on the applicable law, a buyer might be able to win a lawsuit against a seller by proving something like concealment, false and misleading advertising, or fraud.

Things like emotional distress and relationship damage often apply to personal injury cases, but not so much to contract-related cases. (In a personal injury case, the injured party usually had something happen to them involuntarily and unexpectedly. But in a contract-related case, the parties usually entered into the contract voluntarily and after having the opportunity to consider the potential outcomes.) Again, there could always be exceptions under the applicable law.

With that being said, you might consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney who can assess the specific facts, home in on the applicable law, apply the law to the facts, and evaluate the options.

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