Property Damage Issues – What Are Your Rights
Most people are unaware of their rights concerning the repair of their vehicle after a car accident. This issue largely arises because the Defendant insurance company is trying to cut corners and save costs regarding the repairs, so they give false information.
Specifically, the Texas Insurance Code expressly states that you have the right to repair your vehicle at the place of your choosing and you have the right to choose the replacement parts. Let’s address both of these rights separately.
The Right To Repair Your Vehicle Where You Want
Most insurance companies have “preferred facilities” they use to repair vehicles. Typically, the “sell” to the plaintiff/victim is that it is a more streamlined process because they have already approved of the facility and usually have other perks like a rental car concierge on site. In other words, all you have to do is drop off your vehicle and pick up the rental and they will take care of the rest.
Whatever you do, please do not fall in this trap and use their repair facility. If fact, you need to choose anywhere else than that facility. Why? Because what they are not telling you is that they already have “side-deals” worked out with these facilities to give sub-standard care and service. In fact, every “independent” repair facility I have dealt with in my career has told me the same thing: They spend a colossal amount of time fighting with the insurance company on what repairs are needed and on the extent of the damage. This is a good thing. You want the repair center in your corner. You do not want to choose the facility that is in cahoots with the insurance company and has an incentive to minimize the repairs on your vehicle just so they can make sure the “gravy train” of referrals keeps coming to their facility from the insurance company.
The Right to Choose the Replacement Parts
The default standard is that an insurance company will use aftermarket parts on your vehicle for repairs. An “aftermarket part” commonly refers to the secondary market concerning the manufacturing, remanufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of all vehicle parts. In other words, it is not the original manufacturer of the part. Rather, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part is the original part that was put on your vehicle when it was first made.
To reiterate, you have the right to demand that OEM parts are used by the repair facility when repairing your vehicle. Obviously, this is a much harder task if you are using the repair facility designated by the insurance company. For these reasons, it is always best to choose your own facility and to request OEM parts for the repairs.
Contact Potts Law Firm if you or someone you know has suffered from property damage after a car accident.
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