Well here’s another chapter in our fight to advocate for the little guy. A local Beaverton, Oregon Businessman contacted me requesting a Diminished Value Report. I showed up at his business and started my inspection of the vehicle. It was a newer model Chevrolet Tahoe. The owner explained how the accident happened and that the car that rear-ended him in the collision was totaled and that the body shop said that he was lucky he had a big vehicle like the Tahoe and it didn’t cause any serious damage. He said he couldn’t understand how the other car was totaled and his Tahoe only suffered cosmetic damage and no frame damage with such a small price for repairs.
I noticed from 30 feet away, (yes it was that noticeable)
Right from the start, I noticed from 30 feet away, (yes it was that noticeable) that the body panel gaps on the driver side rear were at least a half inch wider than the same gaps on the passenger side. So I took out my creeper, flashlight and camera and slid up under the truck to take a look. The first thing I noticed was the rear cross member’s bolts had slid forward from the impact. Then I saw straps that were still bent. Okay, two red flags right off. Then as I looked closer, I noticed these tabs were not welded to the frame like they were on the other side. So between the three red flags underneath and the big gaps and the bad paintwork around the rear parking sensors, I knew I needed to determine if this truck had frame damage, so I contacted Leif Hansen. Price of repairs don’t have to be large to have frame damage. The body shop that did the repairs said it didn’t have enough damage to even check the frame alignment.
my client was in disbelief that Leif Hansen was the person actually performing the re-inspection
I asked the client if he would be willing to have Leif do a free re-inspection of his Chevy Tahoe, and he said sure. When we showed up at Leif’s Auto Center in Tigard, my client was in disbelief that Leif Hansen was the person actually performing the re-inspection on his vehicle. He said something like, “I can’t believe he would take the time to look at my truck”. That’s what I love about Leif, he’s a very down to earth and grounded person. Even though he’s very successful, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Leif had one of his guys put the Tahoe on the lift and we started looking. It didn’t take very long for him to determine that there was damage to the frame that the other body shop (accidentally?) missed. He pointed out the problems to the client while I took pictures for evidence.
By law the insurance company has to repair your vehicle to pre-loss condition
Once the truck was put on the frame machine we found out it was up to 8mm out of alignment in several areas and there was other structural damage also. There are good body shops out there. But, there are a lot more bad ones. By law the insurance company has to repair your vehicle to pre-loss condition. Aftermarket parts and Like-Kind-Quality (LKQ) parts from other vehicles that have been wrecked should not be accepted. Automotive Manufacturers spend millions in testing to make sure a part works just right, aftermarket parts are sometimes made in someone’s back shop in China with inferior metal, plastic, or even workmanship.
why didn’t the other body shop find the frame damage?
So you may be asking, “why didn’t the other body shop find the frame damage?”. Well this is my opinion only. (this keeps me out of legal hot water) But my theory is, the body shop didn’t look hard enough because the insurance company didn’t want them to. You see, the client had filed a personal injury claim against the at fault insurance company. If the case went to a jury, the insurance company’s lawyer could easy say, “there was only minor cosmetic damage and the initial price of repairs was low to the vehicle, so the driver couldn’t have been hurt as severe as he claims” and play down his injuries as frivolous. Of course, that’s only my opinionated theory of why they may have “accidentally” missed the frame damage.