A jury recently awarded $42 million to a young couple who suffered major burns and crushing injuries after a Dallas body shop fixed their hail-damaged Honda using a cheaper, but untested, method of roof repair.

Just before Christmas, the couple was headed for a family visit when a truck hydroplaned and hit the Honda head-on.

The roof collapsed. The couple was trapped inside their burning car. 

The car’s manufacturer had recommended a specific welding method to fix the Honda’s hail-damaged roof. Instead, the body shop used a glue-like adhesive.

 

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Welding affixes metal joints by heat. In this case, the mechanic used an adhesive—against manufacturer recommendations.

 

If the repair had been done properly, the couple could have walked away from the crash unharmed.


Why we say “crash”, not “accident”— and you should, too. 


Trial jury sends a message to repair shops

Vehicle repairs are a part of everyday lives. If you own any kind of vehicle, at some point you will need professional repairs and services.

But, repair shops have been known to cut corners and use repair methods that save money. There can be no tolerance for this practice, as too much is at stake.

 

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Unless you know exactly how brakes should be fixed—or roofs repaired—you have to trust the mechanic.

 

The couple who was so severely injured in truck collision had to file a lawsuit against the body shop. At the trial, one of the body shop’s representatives asserted that the shop’s repair procedures are “guided by insurance.”

That may be: insurance companies can try to force body shops to go against manufacturer recommendations. (In this case, the couple filed a separate lawsuit against State Farm for this practice).

It’s a big problem for consumers. We usually don’t know how exactly how vehicle repairs are done.

We just have to accept that body shops and service centers are using recommended practices and making all necessary repairs to keep us all safe. If the threat of their customers being trapped in a burning car isn’t enough incentive, what is?

With a $42 million-dollar verdict, the jury’s message was sent loud and clear: “Fix vehicles properly or pay the price.”

The best and recommended car repair practices must be followed. The price for anything less is simply too high.

 


 

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Attorney Kevin Coluccio has dedicated his entire legal career to helping injured people and their families through the civil justice system. Contact Coluccio Law with questions, or call 206-826-8200.

 

 

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