Anyone who has ever been in an auto accident that required vehicle repairs can testify to how annoying the process can be. Your insurance provider will usually direct you to certain mechanics in your area who are on their list of approved providers. You can use a different provider, but you might be responsible for additional costs past what the insurer would pay their own mechanic.
In some ways, this policy is understandable. Insurers are wary of mechanics overcharging for their work, so having some system in place to limit the cost of repairs is justifiable. Unfortunately, this system is also ripe for collusion. Since the mechanic and the insurer work directly with each other, setting estimates and approving repairs, there is a chance for foul play.
State Farm Insurance has been accused of just this type of foul play after a 2013 accident in Texas left a couple crashed and burned. During the investigation into the accident, it was revealed that following an earlier incident a local mechanic had used glue to affix the roof of the car instead of the welds the manufacturer demands. The drivers of the vehicle had only owned the car a few months and were unaware of the repair.
The couple initially sued the mechanic, who testified under oath that the substandard repairs had been ordered by State Farm in order to save a few bucks. Clearly, glue is not going to hold up to a significant collision, but the insurer banked on no such accident occurring. The insurance company put the lives of people at risk to further their profits. Now, a federal lawsuit is being filed against State Farm.
Insurance company demands aren’t the only cause of substandard repairs. Mechanics cut corners for a variety of reasons, sometimes simply to increase their own profit margins. If you have been injured in an auto accident and believe substandard repairs may have contributed either to the accident occurring or if it might have increased the severity of your injuries, please contact an experienced attorney to help you investigate.