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Repair shops suing insurance industry over disputed practices

As New York drivers know, when a car is involved in an accident, it typically falls to the insurance company and a repair shop to work together to restore that vehicle to safe condition. In some situations, the two sides disagree as to the best manner of repairing the damages. Repair shops around the country have joined in a lawsuit against the insurance industry over what they deem unsafe policies.

The repair shops are taking their case to federal court over allegations that insurers are choosing thrift over safety when authorizing repairs. While some vehicles require only cosmetic repairs, many need extensive repairs in order to make them safe to drive. Repair shops claim that insurers are refusing to pay for parts that are made by the original manufacturer in an effort to save costs. However, doing so is believed to compromise the integrity of the vehicle's safety.

One car maker offered what it said was proof that after-market parts are not as safe as what the manufacturer supplies. Honda filmed cars that had been repaired using both factory supplied parts and those done using after-market parts. According to the video, airbag deployment was delayed in the latter scenario.

Repair shops claim that if they refuse to use parts authorized by insurers, the companies will attempt to guide customers to shops that use the less costly options. The insurance industry has denied that it requires these body shops to use any parts are deemed less safe as it would be counterproductive in the long run. New York companies who find themselves facing such litigation are entitled to a vigorous and thorough defense as these companies take steps to reduce the costs for all involved and decisions that jeopardize the safety of their customers would only have the opposite effect.

Source: kutv.com, "Insurance companies contribute to less-than-safe repairs, lawsuit says", Matt Gephardt and Michelle Poe, May 4, 2017

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