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That sucks, man. Sorry to hear about your troubles. My approach is to expect the worst in terms of the mechanic accepting any responsibility.

As far as legal recourse, when the radiator was replaced, did the mechanic give you any kind of a warranty on his work? That's where I would start.

Next, I would get a second opinion, if at all possible, and try to get a better idea of the symptoms. Is the coolant level dropping noticeably? Is the thermoregulation affected? Does the smell enter the cabin all the time, only when the fan is on, only when the heat is on, etc.?

Assuming you have a new coolant leak, there are several possibilities:
  1. This leak was caused by the same incident that cracked your radiator, but neither you nor the mechanic caught it.
  2. This leak developed on its own, independent of the cracked radiator, and perhaps could have been caught by the mechanic at the time of the original repair.
  3. This leak was caused by the repairs performed after the cracked radiator.
  4. This leak developed after the repairs and the timing is pure coincidence.

If you can figure out how the leak came about, you might be able to put pressure on the mechanic to at least contribute toward the new repairs. Arguably, choices 1 and 3 would suggest more "fault" on his part than 2 and 4.

Good luck!
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