Houston, TX asked in Personal Injury for Texas

Q: Can I get Walmart to pay for damages to my car?

I went in to have my tires changed. When removing the last lug nut on one of my tires it got stuck. The employee continued to try and remove it but stripped down the metal. They weren’t able to remove it and now I am paying over $300 out of pocket to have it fixed. What do I do?

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It would be difficult to prove that the Wal-Mart employee caused the damage to the last lug nut. If a lug nut is properly installed, it should be relatively easy to remove. It seems likely that the last person to put that lug nut on before you took your car to Wal-Mart improperly installed and possibly over-torqued the lug nut long before you ever took your car to Wal-Mart. That person may have used an improperly calibrated torque wrench or, even worse, used an impact wrench. It's also possible that the last time you had the lug nuts replaced, a mistake was made and one of the old nuts was put back on. It's also possible that you never have had the lug nuts replaced, and they are all old--this may just be the first one you have experienced a problem with. It's much less expensive to replace old worn lug nuts, than to wait for them to become a problem. The mechanic replacing the lug nut might be able to tell you if the nut itself is the culprit, if it is old and worn, or if the lug nut bolt has been stripped or damaged by past overtorquing.

In any event, an attorney and a lawsuit will cost you far more than $300 out of pocket. If you choose to go the litigation route, be sure to keep the old lug nut and lug nut bolt to use as evidence. Disposing of them may constitute spoliation of evidence.

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