Insurance companies may suggest taking your car to certain repair shops after a crash. Insurance companies choose these shops because they have worked with them in the past and they believe these shops will evaluate vehicle damage in a way that favors the insurance company.
However, victims are often unsure about whether they are required to take their car to a shop selected by the insurance company. In fact, in many cases victims simply do what the insurance company suggests, not knowing their rights in these situations.
You can discuss this issue in detail with one of the licensed Harrisburg-based auto accident lawyers from Schmidt Kramer. An initial consultation with one of our attorneys is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. We have helped many car crash victims recover compensation for vehicle damage, medical expenses and other physical, financial and emotional losses.
Choosing a Repair Shop After a Crash
The fact is: you have the right to choose where to take your car for repairs. Period. This is your right under the law (Pennsylvania Motor Vehicles Physical Damages Appraisers Act Section 11(d)). The law says that appraisers or their employers cannot require repairs to be made in a specific repair shop.
That is not to say you should never take your car to a repair shop the insurance company recommends. You may do your own research and decide to go to a place the insurance company recommends. However, you are not required to do this.
Insurance companies may say things like, “We do not work with that shop,” or “You can speed up the process by taking your car to this mechanic.” Not only is that illegal, it is a tactic used to serve the insurance company’s best interests, not yours.
If the insurance company gives you a hard time about the repair shop you choose, you should consider contacting an experienced attorney for assistance. At Schmidt Kramer, we understand how important it is to not only obtain compensation for medical bills, but also damage to your vehicle. You need your vehicle to be put back in working order so you can get back and forth to your job and handle your other responsibilities.
Often, hiring an attorney causes the insurance company to move faster on a claim or at least take it much more seriously than if you were managing it on your own.
Should I be Concerned About Appraisers Showing Favoritism
The law also says vehicle appraisers need to be impartial with their work (Section 11(f). They are required to:
- Conduct themselves in a way to inspire public confidence through honorable and fair dealings
- Appraise a vehicle without prejudice against a party or favoritism toward any party involved
- Disregard others’ attempts to influence their judgment about the appraisal
Auto repair shops must also allow you to approve any changes. For example, they cannot move your car to a different location unless they obtain your consent to make this change. Insurers cannot put you in a situation where you must travel an unreasonable distance to get a repair estimate.
You should also be provided with an estimate before repairs commence. Otherwise, you do not have to pay for the repairs that are made.
Make sure to get clarification on the type of parts that will be used, whether they are new, used or after-market parts. If they want to use parts that may void your warranty, you should be notified, and they should only use a replacement part that carries a similar or better warranty.
Finding a Repair Shop
These days, we have the internet for doing research on any number of subjects. Online research can be invaluable when searching for a repair shop. You can see customer reviews and learn more about a repair shop right on your smartphone.
However, you should also ask friends and family members for recommendations. Maybe someone you know had a good experience with a repair shop.
If possible, you may want to visit the shop in person. If things look poorly organized or chaotic, you may want to find another shop to go to.
While the insurance company has certain motives in choosing repair shops, that does not always mean these repair shops do a bad job or treat people like you unfairly. While the insurance company often says handling things a certain way will speed the process up, in this case it may be true. Sometimes vehicles insured by certain companies that regularly work with a repair shop are repaired quicker than other vehicles.
Injured in a Crash? Call Today for Assistance
After a car accident, you need experienced legal help as you pursue compensation for your damages. The insurance company is working against your interests and you need someone by your side who can level the playing field. There are a variety of issues to be worked out when it comes to repairing your car, and this is something your attorney may be able to help you with.
The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have been leveling the playing field for crash victims for decades and have a proven track record of recovering compensation.
Schmidt Kramer. No Upfront Fees or Obligations. Call (717) 888-8888.