In most cases, insurance companies are obligated to provide insurance carriers with automobile repairs after a car accident. Or, the owner of the damaged vehicle may make an independent arrangement with a repair shop for repairs after the automobile accident. In any case, vehicle repairers usually have the duty to restore the car to its original condition before the accident occurred.
Substandard repairs refer to repairs that do not bring the car to its original condition before the accident, or that actually make the car worse than it was before. If this happens, it may be possible to sue the insurance company or repair company for losses associated with the substandard repairs.
Substandard automobile repairs can involve two main factors:
- Quality of the work: If the standards of repair fall below industry standards, it may be possible to recover losses
- Quality of the parts: You will want to ask about the quality of the parts, whether they will be using original manufacturer equipment or refurbished parts. It is best if the repairer works with new, original parts. You should ask about this before the repairs are done, and have it stated in writing. If the repairer used faulty or sub-standard quality parts, it may be possible to file a claim to have the parts replaced
In almost all cases there should be a written agreement between the repairer and the car owner regarding which repairs are to be made, and the quality of the repair involved. It is easiest to prove substandard repairs when the repairer makes a promise in writing, then fails to follow up on that promise.
How Can I Prove Automobile Repairs Were Substandard?
When proving substandard automobile repair after an accident, you will need to provide evidence in support of your claim. This can take the form of:
- Photos of the vehicle before and after the repairs
- Written notes of how the vehicle is performing, both before and after repairs
- Copies of the insurance policy and/or repair policy
- Witness testimony (for example, if a mechanic was known to use faulty parts)
There are also state and federal business laws that prohibit insurance and repair companies from using false advertising or deceptive trade practices. If you feel that these tactics may be involved, you should keep a record of the advertisement or statement, so that it can also be entered as evidence for the trial.
How Can I Avoid Substandard Repairs?
It may be nearly impossible to completely prevent substandard repairs, since there’s always a gap in time where the car isn’t in the owner’s control. However, substandard repair can be largely avoided by:
- Not allowing others to authorize repairs: Usually, only the car owner can authorize any repairs after an accident. Do not allow others to approve repairs on your damaged vehicle
- Getting the statements in writing: You should require the repairer provide a written statement regarding which repairs they will make, and which parts they will use. This will essentially serve as a contract that can be enforced under law
- Asking questions before surrendering control of your car: The repair or insurance company should be up front about all repairs and monetary charges. You should avoid companies that can’t provide solid time frames or prices
Finally, many of these principles apply to repairs in general, not just repairs made after a car accident. If you have difficulties regarding substandard repairs, you may wish to contact a lawyer for advice since laws vary by region.
How Can a Lawyer Help With Substandard Repairs After a Car Accident?
Working with a personal injury lawyer may be necessary when dealing with substandard car repairs. A qualified lawyer in your area will be familiar with the business laws and standards in your area, and can provide you with indispensable advice. If you need to file a lawsuit in court, your attorney can represent your interests so that you can recover any losses you have suffered.