If an employee is liable for repairs to a company car, must their employer get more than 1 repair estimate?

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If an employee is liable for repairs to a company car, must their employer get more than 1 repair estimate?

I got into a small accident with a company car. I backed into a traffic cone that weighted about 30 lbs and it cracked the bumper. I am responsible for the repair up to $500. The damage is not noticeable unless you are looking for it. However my employer took it to a dealership (which we all know is the most expensive place to go) and instead of repairing it choose to replace the entire bumper with a new bumper. The dealer is charging something like $800 for the work. This damage is repairable and does not need a new part to fix it and my employer refused to get another quote. Am I responsible for what the repair would be if they had not decided on a new part just because that’s what they want? The work is already being done.

Asked on January 26, 2011 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no specific requirement that someone get multiple quotes. Also, even if there are multiple quotes, there's no specific requirement that someone go with the least costly quote or method of repair/replacement. All that's required is that the cost be "reasonable." So if a reasonable way to fix this problem would be replacement and the cost for the work is also reasonable for this job, then it's been nothing you can object to. If you feel it's unreasonable and that you can prove it, you could fight it, but that might end up in litigation (itself costly); also, you say you're responsible up to $500. That means that the most you may have to pay is $500--so the $800 cost is irrelevant. Suppose that the cheapest way to make the fix (and note: if the bumper was damaged, whether or not you think the damage is noticable, the car's owner may choose to get it fixed) is $350 for parts and labor. Is it worth fighting with your employer and possibly being involved in litigation over a difference of $150? That's something you need to ask yourself.


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