Body Shops Inundated With Wild Crash Repairs, Backlogged For Months – WPXI

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. – It’s officially deer season in western Pennsylvania, and we’re not just talking about hunting.

Body shops across the area tell Channel 11 this has been the “craziest year ever” for wild collisions, with many cars, trucks and SUVs expected to go unrepaired for months.

At Chuck’s Auto Body in McCandless, the phones keep ringing.

“Probably 7/10 calls these days are wild collisions,” said Chuck Eyerman, co-owner of Eyerman Brothers Enterprises. “I get bombarded with estimates and they say, ‘Other stores don’t write estimates until January because we’re so booked up.'”

Body shops like Chuck’s are being inundated with repair requests, with driver after driver taking to the streets this holiday season, meeting deer in the process. Eyerman said his body shop has been fully booked for months.

“We’re trying to prioritize, kind of like an emergency room. We try to just take the ones that aren’t drivable and focus on fixing those for the insurance companies and then the ones that are drivable we put off for a few months until things settle down and we put them in the can bring traffic to the shop,” said Eyerman.

The reason for the increase? Eyerman says it’s a perfect storm, from an abundance of deer to a shortage of labor and parts – but the biggest problem?

“The way the insurance companies deal with these claims is based solely on photos. So they let your random person go out with cell phones, take pictures, send them to insurance companies… They write an estimate based on a photo, so they’re inaccurate when it comes to the store,” Eyerman said.

This can lead to delays in getting approvals from insurance companies and sometimes ordering additional parts. But Eyerman said there are things you as a driver can do to speed up the process, starting with deciding who will fix your car and then going through your insurance company’s process to pursue a comprehensive wildlife damage claim .

But even then it can take a while.

“The holidays are just around the corner and they’re like, ‘I can’t take my car on vacation with this. I need you to help me now,’ and unfortunately you can only ask so many people for help at once,” Eyerman said.

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