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After the accident: Written repair bills

Colorado government statistics show January is one of the most dangerous times to be on state roads.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that there were 50 traffic fatalities statewide in January 2018. The department further reports that with 3.8 million licensed drivers, one in every 33 Coloradans will be involved in an accident sometime during the year.

But the news is not all bad. A November study by the CDOT reports that seat belt usage is up 2.5 percent over 2017. Since unbuckled passengers and drivers accounted for about half the state's 410 passenger vehicle deaths in 2017, any improvement is a big improvement.

After the accident

What happens after a non-fatal accident? You get your car fixed. The Colorado Motor Vehicle Repair Act (MVRA) addresses just such an incident.

The MVRA states that no repairs can be made on a vehicle without the written consent of the owner. The consent must include a written estimate, which must include the total cost of repairs, the completion date. whether the replaced parts should be returned, the cost of reassembly if the customer chooses not to have the work done and the replacement of parts wrecked in disassembly.

If a car is left or towed into a repair shop before or after business hours, no more than $100 of work can be done without the owner's written consent.

If an estimate is given over the phone, it must be accompanied by a written estimate that includes the date, time of call, phone number called, manner of consent, the person's name giving the consent and the employee's name taking the consent. Any invoice must be clear and legible. The shop must keep a copy of the invoice for three years.

If repairs are needed after the initial estimate, the shop must get the owner's consent before performing any repairs. The shop also has to note whether the replacement parts are new, used, reconditioned or rebuilt parts.

If diagnostic work is necessary before performing any repairs, a shop must tell the owner any cost of the diagnosis, costs of disassembly, cost of reassembly if the owner doesn't want to proceed with repairs, cost of parts to replace the ones destroyed in disassembly.

A shop owner who fails to provide an invoice or doesn't give a correct invoice faces fines of between $500 and $2,000.

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