The body shop claims the insurance company bullied them into performing a cheaper repair.
In a verdict that could potentially change the way body shops do business, a Texas jury has awarded a couple $42 million after they were severely injured in a crash they should have walked away from—except, a repair center had secretly glued a replacement roof onto their car, instead of welding it on as the manufacturer specified.
It’s every used-car buyer’s worst nightmare to discover that their recently-purchased ride is carrying some dark and potentially dangerous secrets. For Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, that realization came too late when in 2013 an oncoming pickup truck hydroplaned and struck their 2010 Honda Fit nearly head-on. An engineer later testified that the crash was “virtually identical” to the IIHS’s moderate-overlap crash test, and that the 2010 Fit has a “good” rating. However, the force of the impact caused the roof to separate, leading to a cascade of structural failures that jammed the doors shut and caused the fuel tank to ignite.
The Seebachans were trapped for several minutes before witnesses pulled them from the burning wreckage. According to medical records submitted to the court, Marcia suffered several broken bones, bruises, and internal bleeding. Matthew wasn’t as lucky, enduring fourth-degree burns to his lower body, two broken heels, and a host of other injuries that left him hospitalized for much of the last four years. Rather than becoming an RN as he always dreamed, he’s now a “professional patient,” in and out of doctor’s offices every week, he told CBS 11 News.