If being involved in a car accident isn’t stressful enough, individuals are also having to deal with untrustworthy auto insurance companies when it comes to having repairs made to the damaged vehicle. Insurance companies often try to pressure auto body shops to use cheap parts and repair tactics when fixing their insured’s vehicle to avoid paying money. Employees at the body shops state that if they do not make the suggested fixes to the vehicle that the insurance companies suggest, the insurance company will pull their business away and go to a different shop. For some auto body repair shops, this means losing crucial needed business. Even the policy holders have caught on to the scam and are claiming that insurance companies manipulate them into going to auto repair shops that will use their cheap repair practices.
Over 500 garages across 36 U.S. states have come together to fight the insurance industry’s fraudulent conduct. State Farm, one of the biggest insurance companies in America, is currently involved in a lawsuit in Louisiana. The current litigation alleges that the inexpensive parts being used are not suitable for consumer safety and unnecessarily place those using the roads in danger. Some of the parts that are purportedly being used are parts that are not made by the original manufacturer and/or recycled parts not fit for use. State Farm, however, denies all the claims that are being made against them to avoid liability. While State Farm alleges it is up to the consumer to take their vehicle wherever they want, the reality is that they will not pay if the price is higher than the cheap repairs they can have done at their facilities.
Faulty Car Repair Tactics
According to auto body shops, insurance companies are pushing mechanics to use some of the following dishonest repair tactics:
- Using glue to hold together headlights. There could be the smallest crack in the headlights that the average person may not be able to point out, which could cause the headlight to fill up with water during the next rain;
- Replacing the old rims with dented rims;
- Using rusty parts;
- Improperly replacing airbags with untested airbags from junk yards, paper towels, or packing peanuts; and
- Replacing windshields with lesser quality ones.
The insurance industry is a billion dollar industry and attempts to save money for shareholders at every corner. A corporations legal duty is to place the interests of shareholders above all others. This savings translates into risk of injury or death for unsuspecting victims.
How to Make Sure Your Car is Fixed Right After an Accident
So, what can the customer do to avoid getting these “junk yard parts” installed on their vehicle at their insurance companies request and ensure all needed repairs are made?
- First, you need to review your auto insurance policy to see what repairs the company will pay for should you be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Sometimes language will be hidden in your insurance policy about using aftermarket parts.
- Next, research auto body repair shops to ensure their practices are trustworthy. You could start by consulting with friends or a trusted colleague for their suggestions.
- Get more than one estimate for the damages done to your vehicle.
- Ask the auto body repair shops questions to make sure you understand the extent of the damages done and repairs that need to be made.
- After your vehicle has been fixed, review the repairs that were made by the auto body shop.
- Always make sure the auto body shop takes the bumper off of the vehicle to ensure there is not more damage than can be seen from the surface.
The insurance industry will use all available tactics they can to avoid paying for your property damage and your injuries. A St. Louis car accident lawyer can help provide advice and fight to ensure you are being taken care of properly after an accident. The Dixon Injury Firm is happy to help by calling (314) 409-7060.