When a negligent body shop or collision centers performs a defective repair after a car accident, the mechanic negligence lawyers of Whitney, LLP may be able to help. We have experience representing consumers who are taken advantage of by dishonest repair shops in Maryland when repairs are not performed correctly after a collision.
While consumers often think that their car was safely fixed by the insurance company through an “insurance-recommended” repair shops, these shops often cut corners and perform cheap, unsafe repairs with weak parts in order to keep their costs low and keep the insurance company happy in order to keep more business coming.
If your car was not fixed properly after an accident, Whitney, LLP’s mechanic negligence lawyers for bad car repairs after an accident may be able to help.
Car crashes can be stressful, but fixing your car should not be. If you have had a car accident, you will want to get your car repaired and back on the road as quickly as possible. You contact the insurance company and begin to work towards finding the right auto repair shop to do the work. You get estimates and repair costs gathered, and when you drop your car off, you feel confident that you are on your way back to normal.
Unfortunately for many people, the process does not always go so smoothly. Dishonest auto repair shops and cost-cutting insurance companies might leave you at risk of more injury and damage while driving an unsafe car.
Whitney, LLP’s defective car repair lawyers help consumers in a variety of legal claims involving the auto industry in addition to bad repairs after accidents, including fraudulent Maryland State Inspections and dishonest car dealerships.
We offer Legal Consultations In Bad Car Repair Cases. Call Whitney, LLP at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case. Here is our YouTube Channel for our videos, including unsafe car repairs and other consumer legal issues involving the automotive industry.
Dealing with Damage from a Car Accident
After a car accident, you often have the right under insurance coverage to be made whole again, which means that your car should be restored to its pre-accident condition.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is usually contractually obligated to cover your car’s repairs, but its loyalties ultimately lie with its shareholders. It will pay for repair of the damage with an eye towards containing the costs, and that might just leave you driving an unsafe car that may lead to further problems.
If the driver that hit you did not have insurance, your insurance coverage will likely apply. No matter which insurance company or repair shop does the repair work after an accident, they have to perform the work in safe and reasonable way, and cannot cut corners or perform defective or unsafe repairs and hide that from you.
Examples of Dishonest Auto Repair Practices
Insurance companies and dishonest body shops often use a variety of creative tactics to perform negligent, cheap and unsafe repairs, including:
- Rejecting auto repair estimates;
- Not repairing expensive damage and covering it up;
- Pressuring repair shops to use non-OEM or original equipment manufacturer parts;
- Paying only for the use of reconditioned or salvaged parts; and
- Rejecting manufacturer repair and safety guidelines.
While insurance companies are not necessarily required to pay the highest estimate, you have the right to have your vehicle repaired properly.
That right includes knowing what steps the shop is taking to repair the vehicle and what type and which parts are being used.
Any damage that is overlooked or caused by the auto repair shop that leads to an accident may entitle you to compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered.
Carefully Choose the Repair Shop
Am I required to use a specific auto body shop for the repairs to my vehicle or can I choose the shop I want to use? You can choose.
Think about it. When has an insurance company ever done the right thing instead of trying to save money? Car repairs are no different than any other instance when an insurance company wants to save money and pay out as little as possible.
Consumers are often able to select the auto body repair shop of your choice. While insurers and adjusters may recommend specific shops, they cannot require them. You can go to your own chosen shop and pay the difference between the estimate and the final bill. You can also dispute the estimate or simply go to their recommended shop.
However, the recommended shops by the insurance company are often the least expensive shops that perform fast, cheap and negligent mechanical and repair work on your car. Needed repairs may be overlooked or performed improperly. The shop may install salvaged, poor quality, or even counterfeit equipment, putting you and others at risk of catastrophic equipment failure at the worst possible time.
When accident damage is not fixed right, injuries can happen. The consequences can be more than a nuisance. You and your loved ones may be subject to a crash or at risk from faulty wiring, bad steering, bad brake repairs, unrepaired frame damage and unrepaired structural damage.
Whitney, LLP’s mechanic negligence lawyers for defective car repairs can help you get the repair done correctly by a legitimate repair shop, recover your losses and protect your rights.
Negligent and Defective Car Repairs after Crash
After an auto accident or collision, you depend on the auto repair shop and the insurance company to restore your vehicle to proper working order in a reasonable amount of time.
Unfortunately, the process is not always as straightforward as it should be. Some insurance companies are willing to cut corners to save costs, and some auto repair shops are unscrupulous or dishonest. The one who suffers is you, and you may end up with a car not fixed properly after accident, putting you and others on the road at grave risk.
Common auto shop scams and problem behaviors include:
Paying your deductible
While this can be a tempting offer, paying your deductible indicates the body shop is artificially inflating their estimates to cover the deductible amount, revealing unethical behavior.
Underbidding the job
If the estimate seems unreasonably low, the shop may have simply scanned your vehicle for obvious damage and missed some necessary repairs. Later when the work begins in earnest, they will “discover” new damage that they missed in the first estimate, and that will end up costing you far more than the first estimate.
Or, their low estimate indicates they will not take the time and expense do perform repairs to the proper standard.
Overcharging for parts
Repair shops have several options when it comes to damaged equipment. They might repair parts that have suffered only minor damage, or they can replace them using OEM parts made by the original manufacturer, using aftermarket parts made by a different company, rebuilt parts that are completely reconstructed but tested for quality and performance, or recycled parts, which may be in a variety of conditions and states of wear.
An unethical repair shop may buy cheaper recycled or even counterfeit parts while charging for OEM or aftermarket parts.
Damaging your car
While this is not necessarily common, it does happen. The most unethical repair shops will actively damage the frame, hoses, wiring, or other parts of your vehicle while in the process of repairing it after an accident. You will then need to return to have the new damage repaired or pay more to have the newly discovered “damage” repaired.
Safety Problems from Defective and Unsafe Car Repairs
Poor quality repair jobs are more than a nuisance. They can be a serious safety issue. When a body shop lies about repairs, uses counterfeit parts, or performs a defective car repair, they compromise the integrity of your vehicle and put your safety and the safety of others on the road in jeopardy.
Common substandard and defective car repair can include:
- Improper wiring jobs
- Faulty mechanical work
- Improper part replacement
- Leaking hoses
- Frame damage not repaired correctly
These issues can lead to loss of control, fire hazards, and potential accidents.
When picking up your vehicle after an accident, perform a visual inspection for signs of damage and take it for a test drive to check for any noises, pulling, or noticeable changes in the way it drives, feels, or sounds.
If you suspect your car not fixed properly after accident, immediately return it to the repair shop and ask for an inspection to address the problem. You may also want to contact the insurance company who paid for the repair to put them on notice and give them an opportunity to make it right.
Whitney, LLP’s attorneys for claims against body shop can help.
Frame Damage Not Repaired Correctly
Your vehicle’s frame offers structural support. Newer vehicles are designed to crumple and absorb the impact of a crash. This helps protect the occupants in the event of an accident, but it also leads to significant damage to the vehicle’s frame even in low-speed collisions. About half of collisions can trigger some kind of damage to the frame.
Symptoms of a damaged frame include:
- Visible damage, such as rust or cracks in the frame
- Poor alignment even after an alignment has been performed
- Unusual squeaking, creaking or other unusual noises from one side
- Uneven tire wear
- Poorly aligned doors, windows, and other parts
- Poorly tracking wheels
A bent or damaged frame must be correctly diagnosed and repaired to ensure your vehicle is fully functional and safe to drive again. By leaving your frame in a weakened or bent state, the auto shop has left you at risk of complete failure in a subsequent accident.
Negligence and Legal Claims Against Body Shops
To avoid negligence, auto mechanics and repair centers must maintain a standard of quality when making repairs or upgrades to a vehicle. The shop owes a reasonable duty of care to maintain your vehicle and provide ethical service, including:
- Behaving professionally
- Repairing the vehicle properly and carefully to the correct standard
- Demonstrating the appropriate skills and knowledge expected of mechanics in the field
- Not making any unnecessary repairs
- Inspecting and test driving the vehicle after repairs have been made to ensure safety
Before choosing a mechanic, you have the right to request to see their licenses, certificates, or business operating papers before making any final decisions about using their services, especially if you are unfamiliar with them.
If your body shop fails to make the appropriate repairs or even damages your vehicle in the process of attempting a repair and it causes an accident, you may have a legal claim against them. Car repair fraud is one of the most common consumer complaints, and it is especially common after car accidents.
Accidents and Injury after Defective Repairs
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides consumers with Auto Repair Guidelines for auto repairs and some things to look out for before trusting a body shop to repair your car.
When you entrust your vehicle to a mechanic, they have a reasonable duty of care to ensure it is returned to you in safe, drivable condition. If the mechanic did not repair it properly or intentionally damaged it, they did not observe due diligence and were negligent.
Examples of negligence by an auto repair shop can include:
- Incorrectly repairing the vehicle
- Installing the wrong parts or installing the correct parts incorrectly
- Incomplete repairs
- Failure to properly identify all necessary repairs
- Damaging one or more vehicle parts in the course of repairing the vehicle
Mechanic Negligence Lawyers for Bad Repairs – Whitney, LLP
If your car was not fixed properly after an accident and it leads to an accident with injuries or other serious damage and you are unable to work, care for your family, or engage in other daily tasks, Whitney, LLP’s lawyers may be able to help if the bad repair occurred in Maryland.
Compensation for mechanic negligence, body shop defective repairs or collision center fraud can include:
- The cost of all necessary repairs to be properly performed;
- Replacement cost of a new vehicle if necessary;
- Medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost wages; and
- Attorney’s fees.
Our repair negligence attorneys can review your case to determine the best way to move forward. We can ensure your rights are protected, and if we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit and represent you at court. We will fight for a fair outcome for you.
We represent consumers across Maryland including in Baltimore, Pasadena, Cockeysville, Owings Mills, Temple Hills, Marlow Heights, Middle River, Germantown, Silver Spring, Frederick, Waldorf, Laurel, Glen Burnie, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Ellicott City and Salisbury.