Lawyer: Reduced Salary Lawsuits May Have To Explain Insurer’s Estimate Does Not Govern Store
Last fall, a Connecticut lawyer said it may be necessary in a dispute over insufficient wages to rebut the idea that the insurer’s estimate weighed the same as the store’s bill. .
“These two things are very different documents,” John Parese, partner of Buckley Wynne & Parese, told the “Litigating and Winning Short Pay Claims” virtual audience. (Parese’s class and more than a dozen other SCRS virtual repairer-focused training sessions, released in November 2020, remain replayable until August 31, 2021.)
Parese said he even asked the judges why a body shop was not operating outside of the insurer’s estimate and said “the store had to get permission from the insurance company” “to get it. move away from it. This means that a complainant has to explain “why it’s upside down,” Parese said.
“Inevitably,” parties such as consumers, laymen and judges do not appreciate the distinction between an insurer’s estimate and that of an accident repairer, Parese said during the virtual course. The course focused primarily on low-wage small claims lawsuits involving an auto body shop that carried a first or third party claimant benefit assignment.
(Note: Parese’s comments and this article are for informational purposes and are not intended to be legal advice. Consult a qualified lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction before taking any action.)
Parese said he created a letter for the Auto Body Association of Connecticut explaining the difference between an insurer and a store estimate, and it could be taken to court to work “almost like a legal case.” (He said members of the public could contact him for a copy.)
“Not all courts will allow me to introduce this,” Parese said. However, most allow its introduction, he said.
The letter answers the question: “What is the role and legal scope of an insurance quote in the context of auto body repair; and can an insurance estimate be used to dictate how a vehicle should be repaired or as evidence of the actual cost of the repair? “
“This is a central problem that we have to face,” said Parese.
The document states:
It goes without saying that insurance companies are not trained, equipped or licensed to repair vehicles. This is part of the reason why insurers still choose to pay loss of property claims in cash.
Since insurers are required to pay cash losses, they use insurance estimates to help assess their indemnity risk. An “estimate” is an approximate judgment or calculation; a statement of the insurer’s opinion as to the approximate price of the work to be performed. Insurance estimates by their very nature (i.e. an approximation before repairs begin) and paternity (i.e. written by an insurance representative not authorized to perform repairs) cannot be used as proof of the true cost of the repair or as a repair plan. …
Additionally, since most insurance estimates are made without the benefit of vehicle teardown, they often require significant corrections due to damage later discovered.
To reinforce this last point here, it should also be emphasized that the initial estimates are mostly incomplete. CCC data revealed that 60.9% of repairable vehicle claims in 2020 had surcharges, typically accounting for 18.7% of the repair cost. The average repair bill was $ 3,421, meaning the original estimate missed an average of $ 640 in damage.
Parese also points out that under Connecticut law, only authorized repairers regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles can repair vehicles, and insurers have “no legal authority, experience, training, or oversight in the area of. car repair. …
“In addition, since the authorized repairer is ultimately responsible for the soundness of a repair, it would be inappropriate and unethical for this auto repair expert to relinquish his judgment for that of someone in the field. insurance sector. “
If the court were to read the document, “it will advance your case dramatically,” Parese said.
Parese said he also liked to present the Society of Collision Repair Specialists statement that OEM repair procedures are the industry standard of care.
The original SCRS-ASA-AASP-Assured Performance 2011 benchmark can be found here; Parese’s presentation appeared to present the CSIS 2017 position reiterating the position and confirming that it includes diagnostic and mechanical procedures.
“(We) hereby acknowledge published repair procedures, as provided by automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as the official industry has recognized ‘repair standards’ for collision repair.” , wrote the trade groups in 2011. “These standards, where they exist, should serve as a basis for establishing training, testing, repair practices and documentation.
“Whereas we recognize that OEM repair procedures are incomplete compared to the full range of vehicles and repair operations that exist in the market; the repair procedures published by the OEM will serve as a baseline for industry repair standards, with the understanding that further development of procedures will be necessary in areas not covered by the published procedures. “
Parese called it “great proof”.
He asked the audience: If a body shop can demonstrate that they have followed the procedures of the automakers and that OEM is the standard, then how could an insurer not authorized to perform repairs disregard? the industry standard?
“They can’t,” Parese said. “Case closed.”
“Dispute and win short salary claims”
Society of Collision Repair Specialists, released in November 2020
Training courses focused on virtual repairers (replayable until August 31, 2021)
CSIS Open Letter on OEM Procedures
CSRS, June 27, 2017
AASP, ASA, SCRS, Assured Performance 2011 statement of OEM repair procedures as standard of care
John Parese, partner of Buckley Wynne & Parese, is seen during the 2020 CSIS virtual course of training piloted by CSRS repairers “Litigating and Winning Short Pay Claims”. To the left is a copy of a letter he says he likes to present to the court to refute the idea that the insurer’s estimate is on par with the repairman’s. (Screenshot of the SCRS video)
John Parese, partner of Buckley Wynne & Parese, is seen during the 2020 CSIS virtual course of training piloted by CSRS repairers “Litigating and Winning Short Pay Claims”. To the left is a copy of a 2017 CSIS position statement reiterating the organization’s 2011 position on OEM repair procedures. (Screenshot of the SCRS video)