Orlando Auto Accident Resource Center

Car Insurance Companies Are Taking Shortcuts With Defective Parts at Your Expense

A lawsuit was filed this week by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell alleging State Farm is improperly forcing auto body repair shops to install unsafe parts on vehicles, endangering the lives of consumers. At a news conference announcing the lawsuit, Caldwell said that State Farm has created a “culture of unsafe business practices,” in which consumer vehicle repairs are performed with “cost savings” as the primary goal, rather than safety and reliability.

A lawsuit was filed this week by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell alleging State Farm is improperly forcing auto body repair shops to install unsafe parts on vehicles, endangering the lives of consumers. At a news conference announcing the lawsuit, Caldwell said that State Farm has created a “culture of unsafe business practices,” in which consumer vehicle repairs are performed with “cost savings” as the primary goal, rather than safety and reliability.

Using “after-market” or “junkyard parts” is dangerous because these parts often do not fit the vehicle properly or are damaged to begin with. Insurers are contracting with “direct repair program” shops to do work as economically feasible as possible in an effort to keep costs down. They tell consumers they will pay only for the cheaper parts, and if the car owner wants new parts made by the manufacturer, they must pay the difference in price.

The lawsuit says State Farm is violating the state’s unfair trade practices act by directing customers to specific auto body repair shops. Other allegations include: Insurers telling customers they will be required to pay more at “non-select” repair shops, repairs will not be guaranteed, and the insurance company will not cover the costs if it takes longer to complete a repair than the repair shop’s software had originally estimated.

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties, which is $5,000 per violation and restitution for extra costs paid by consumers who wanted original manufacturer parts. Louisiana is the first state to file such a lawsuit, but it is a national problem, even with ties to Central Florida.

A number of Florida drivers are now part of a legal battle putting Florida body shop owners against insurance companies. Will Dunn’s insurance company guaranteed to return his vehicle to its “pre-loss” condition, after an adjuster recommended he use the company’s preferred body shop. Noticeable gaps in the seams of his Nissan’s rear raised suspicion about the repair. Upon further inspection, his suspicions were confirmed. Gunder’s Auto Center found an entire area of frame smashed and kinked.

Gunder’s Auto Center, in Lakeland, FL is one of the 20 Florida collision repair facilities that have filed a lawsuit against 30 insurance companies. The complaint alleges a pattern of coercion to force these shops to take short cuts on repairs to keep costs low for the insurance company. Plaintiffs argue the practice puts the drivers of these cars at serious risk.

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Don’t Let Your Insurance Company Use Defective Parts After Your Car Accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer immediately. At the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson we offer complimentary case evaluations and can review any settlement offer you have received from the insurance company to determine whether you have a case to receive greater compensation. Our experienced team of accident attorneys can help you obtain fair compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.

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