The issue of where to get your car repair estimate and/or the actual car repair has come up several times in the last couple of years. One of the numbers that insurance company adjustors use in assigning a case value to your personal injury claim is the amount of visible damage to your car and the repair bill amount from the auto body shop (along with time in medical treatment and amount of medical bills.) In the next scenario, this issue actually happened. The client took the car to a “second hand” auto body shop for an estimate because of a referral from someone they know, or they have dealt with the shop in the past to save money on a previous claim or a minimal damage repair. We understand and agree with this scenario if this is the only choice, BUT, here is the risk of this choice.
A former client that was involved in a rear-end accident took her damaged vehicle to the “second hand” shop for an estimate and repair. The insurance adjuster had no issues when they received the estimate for the repair because it was much less than what it should have cost. The client had the car fixed and notified us that the vehicle was indeed repaired. She called us a week later and notified us that the car was “running and sounding weird” and was not driving “right.” We instructed her to take it to the dealership in her area that was the manufacturer of the vehicle and have them inspect and advise. In this case, it was Chevrolet. The “second hand” shop had not taken the back bumper cover off where there was significant damage. They did not replace the exhaust that was actually damaged with dents from the impact among other findings. The difference from the Chevy dealership repair estimate and the “second hand” shop was THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. The client even stated, “I should have taken my car to the dealership.”
We, at Noakes Law, understand that insurance companies have approved repair sites that do a satisfactory job and sometimes that is the only route, but as you can see from the scenario above that the insurance company SAVED money by letting her use the “referred” body shop. The insurance company welcomes you giving them a chance to pay less money. The horrible result of this is that the client now has to pay out of pocket to get her car fixed correctly or file a lawsuit against the “second hand” shop that will cost as much to litigate as it would to get her vehicle repaired. PLEASE, take your car to the dealership of the manufacturer to get a damage appraisal AND any shop the insurance company recommends so we have 2 (two) estimates!! That way if there is a discrepancy in repairs, we can step in and advise the insurance company to do the right thing.
If you have been injured in an accident and have questions regarding your situation please contact a trusted car accident attorney at the Noakes Law Group.