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Auto insurer pressure could be cause of shoddy repairs

When automobile accidents occur in California, many motorists rely on insurance companies to cover the necessary repairs. A relationship of trust is the basis of a driver's reliance on car insurance. However, one case has indicated dangers that can result if auto insurance companies actually put pressure on repair shops to perform less expensive (and less safe) repairs on damaged cars.

In one accident, a car insurance company allegedly pressured an auto body shop to perform substandard repairs. The manufacturer's standard of repair for hailstorm damage to the roof of the car involved 108 welds; however, the auto body shop instead used glue, saving $3,000. In a later collision, the roof detached, causing severe injuries to the car's occupants. The victims are accusing the auto insurer of deceptive trade practices for its alleged involvement in compelling the repair shop to perform the cheap yet shoddy repair.

A jury found that the body shop was responsible for 75 percent of the victims' damages of $42 million. The victims reached a settlement after the verdict with the body shop but are pursuing the insurer for its alleged role. Lawyers and advocates emphasize that the issue of insurer pressure leading to cheaper repairs is an ongoing concern for millions of drivers across the country.

Deceptive trade practices are meant to lure or mislead the public into purchasing a service or a product. If an auto insurer pressures a body shop to perform substandard work, that could constitute a deceptive trade practice or breach of contract with the insured party. A lawyer could provide guidance and representation to people who have suffered from shoddy repair work and wish to seek compensation for damages.

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