The Insurance Company Wants to Repair my Car With Non-Factory parts. Can They do This?
When you settle a claim with an insurance company following a motor vehicle accident, you might assume that obtaining the amount of financial compensation for your injuries is your only concern. If you are pursuing a claim for damage to your vehicle, that is unfortunately not the case. If the insurance company is paying to repair your vehicle, you may have to contend with them pushing non-factory parts in the repairs.
Some states allow insurance companies to force consumers to accept whatever non-factory parts they might select. California allows the use of these non-factory parts, but they attach specific requirements upon their use.
If you feel that you are being treated unfairly by an insurance company, you do not have to face them down on your own. Experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers can work with you to ensure every aspect of your settlement is fair.
Non-factory part replacement in California
In California, you are protected by the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations. However, these regulations do not bar the insurance companies or their repair shops from using aftermarket parts. They do apply certain protections to ensure you are not shortchanged in the quality of replacement part in your vehicle.
First and foremost, state law mandates that your repair invoice must identify all of the parts used in your repair. On the invoice, the body shop must indicate if the parts are one of the following:
- Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) crash part, or
- non-OEM aftermarket crash part
It is vital that you check your repair invoice to determine if the body shop has used suboptimal parts in your repairs.
The second important aspect of your rights as they relate to aftermarket parts is the warranty. When insurance companies use aftermarket parts, they must warranty that all non-OEM parts are at least the same quality as OEM parts when it comes to kind, safety, fit, quality, and performance. This warranty is important, as it means the insurance company must pay the cost of additional modifications to the vehicle if additional repairs are necessary due to suboptimal parts.
Disputes over aftermarket parts
There are a number of steps you can take if you disagree with the use of aftermarket parts in your vehicle repair. Your first step is to contact the body shop to ensure the use of the part was not a mistake. Often, it is possible to resolve a disagreement directly with the repair shop. If that is not an option, contacting your insurance company may be your next best bet.
If you are unable to come to an agreement and do not feel the aftermarket parts in your vehicle are adequate, you have the right to contact the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. Additionally, you can contact the California Department of Insurance to raise a dispute with your insurance company.
Ultimately, it may take the intervention of legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. You do not have to deal with the insurance company on your own. Let an experienced car accident lawyer assist you with negotiating with the insurance company from the very beginning of your claim. The guidance of seasoned legal counsel could dramatically simplify the process of having your vehicle repaired.
How an attorney can help
Your motor vehicle repairs are only one aspect of insurance negotiations that your car accident attorneys could help with. Your legal counsel can help obtain the financial compensation you deserve following a car accident. This includes not only the cost of vehicle repairs but also your medical bills and lost wages as well.
The attorneys of Ellis Injury Law stand ready to assist you with every aspect of your accident claim. If you are ready to learn more about your legal rights, do not hesitate to contact us. Call today to schedule your free consultation.