When a product is found to have a defect that causes injury, people here in Nevada can file a Reno product liability claim to hold the negligent company responsible. Many people understand that this applies to defective auto parts, but they may not know that insurance companies can also be held accountable if the company encourages repair shops to use faulty parts.
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A recent CNN news report states that a lawsuit has been filed against a prominent insurance company. The suit alleges that the insurance company’s low-cost repair programs steer policy holders toward auto body repair shops where the owners agree to use cut corners when repairing vehicles after accidents.
Insurance companies are in a position to significantly affect the success of a repair shop through their Direct Referral Program contracts. According to the news story, those who refuse to make the low-quality repairs lose business. This phenomenon is not local or even regional, the story claims. Currently, there are more than 500 garages from 36 states involved in the lawsuit against the insurance company.
Safety not guaranteed
Edmunds.com is the number one third party automotive website according to J.D. Powers. According to their automobile experts, parts used to repair crashes come in two varieties. These are original equipment manufacturer and non-original equipment manufacturer or aftermarket parts. All OEM parts are manufactured by the vehicle’s maker or under licensure of them. Non-OEM parts are sometimes called aftermarket, and are made by a manufacturer not affiliated with the original company. When aftermarket parts are installed, it often voids the vehicle’s warranty. A Reno product liability claim lawyer is aware that it may be possible for car owners to restore the original vehicle warranty through OEM repairs.
In a report to congressional requesters on motor vehicle safety, the Government Accountability Office notes that safety impact is uncertain on non-OEM parts. Collision-repair associations typically claim that they are unsafe because of inferior fit and finish. Manufacturers express the same concern, noting that non-OEM parts cannot ensure that the performance is to the vehicle’s original specifications. Insurance companies believe aftermarket parts are safe and economical alternatives that have the potential to save up to 65 percent.
How consumers can protect themselves from unsafe parts
Edmunds.com experts warn consumers to protect themselves from potentially dangerous aftermarket or junkyard parts by requesting to see documentation of each part that is installed. Nebraska law requires repair facilities to disclose the intention to use parts that are not OEM in the estimate. The disclosure must be on or attached to the estimate in at least 10-point type so it is easy to identify. It must contain information about manufacturer or distributor warranties, as well.
A consumer who uses the garage recommended by the insurance can get a post-repair inspection to ensure that the repairs were done with OEM parts and done right. When substandard work puts individuals in danger, a Nevada product liability attorney may be able to help victims file a Reno product liability claim. By holding responsible parties liable, consumers may help put a stop to unethical practices.