Insurance And Bad Repairs

Mineral Wells attorneys might be interested in knowing about this case. It is a 2008. Houston Court of Appeals [14th Dist.] opinion styled, Walker v. Travelers Indemnity Co. In this case the trial court granted a motion for summary judgement in favor of Travelers and Walker appealed and filed a motion for sanctions.
Walker purchased a new 2003 automobile for $39,664.20. From the date of its purchase, the automobile was insured by Travelers under a standard Texas personal automobile insurance policy. Less than four months after the purchase, a tree fell on the automobile during a rainstorm. The automobile sustained interior and exterior damage and was towed to Independent Body Paint Shop. While Walker filed a claim and demanded that the automobile be totaled, Travelers determined that the automobile could be restored and elected to repair it. Although Independent Body performed certain repairs on the automobile, it was not restored to its pre-accident condition, and Walker requested additional policy benefits.
When Travelers refused additional policy benefits, Walker sued for breach of contract and extra-contractual claims.
The appraisal clause in the insurance policy was invoked and Walker chose as his appraiser, James Walden Walker took the automobile to a second shop for inspection. The estimate from the second shop included repairs for mistakes made by the first shop and Travelers refused to pay the additional amount.
Coverage under an insurance policy is a question of law reviewed de novo. The general rules of contract construction govern insurance policy interpretation. Here, the relevant portions of the Policy state:
We will pay for direct and accidental loss to your covered auto . . . .
. . . .
Our limit of liability for loss will be the lesser of the:
1. Actual cash value of the stolen or damaged property;
2. Amount necessary to repair or replace the property with other of like kind and quality . . . .

The coverage provided by the Policy includes loss from a collision or a direct accident, with the exception of specific exclusions not relevant to Walker’s loss. The Policy specifically defines collision as the upset, or collision with another object. The necessity of re-repairs due to shoddy work does not constitute a collision as defined under the Policy. Furthermore, the defective work performed by Independent Body is not a direct accident under the Policy.
Travelers also relies on the affidavit of Walden which states that he arrived at the total amount from damages incurred at the time the loss was sustained. However, there is no evidence establishing that the loss mentioned here by Walden included only damages sustained at the time the tree fell on the automobile and not at the time he inspected it, which was after Independent Body performed the inadequate repairs. As a matter of law, the Policy did not cover damages resulting from the substandard work performed by Independent Body; only damages from the fallen tree were covered by the Policy. There is summary judgment evidence establishing that the extent of damages incurred by the fallen tree was $16,902.08. It is undisputed that Travelers paid this amount to Walker. Accordingly, summary judgment was proper on the issue of coverage and full performance by Travelers under the Policy. The summary judgment in favor of Travelers was thus sustained.
Walkers motion for sanctions was from Walkers belief that the actions taken by Travelers were taken in “bad faith” but the court did not agree and ruled against Walker on this issue also.
So the bottom line here is that absent language in the insurance policy to the contrary, poor work performed by someone doing repairs on an auto are not covered by the policy.

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