DALLAS, October 3, 2017 — Vehicle Safety Lawyer Todd Tracy praised a Dallas County Jury for their courage in awarding nearly $42-million in damages to a Dallas couple what were crushed and burned because a collision repair company was bullied by an auto insurance carrier into not following the vehicle manufacturer’s repair rules when it glued a new steel roof on their car.
The jury held John Eagle Collision Center negligent for using glue to secretly replace a hail damaged metal roof on a 2010 Honda Fit, instead of using 108 structural welds specified by Honda.
Matthew and Marcia Seebachan suffered catastrophic injuries when their Honda was hit by another vehicle in what automotive engineering and biomechanical experts told the jury was an accident that they should have walked away from.
$42 Million Defective Car Repair Verdict Sends Message To Auto Insurance Industry
Todd Tracy, the Seebachan’s vehicle safety lawyer, says the jury’s verdict sends a clear message that auto insurance companies need to keep their noses out of the auto repair industry, “Greedy insurance companies have been bullying auto body shops into fixing damaged vehicles with unsafe practices and materials for decades. Jury members clearly stated after the verdict that if a collision repair center makes a business decision not to follow Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) safety repair rules, then it is their responsibility to pay for the financial damages that result.
The jury stated afterwards that the John Eagle Collision Center made the wrong decision to not follow OEM repair standards. The body shop director for John Eagle Collision Center testified that auto insurance companies dictated repairs because the body shop needed to get paid.
John Eagle’s defense argued that the roof of an automobile was not part of its structure and that using bonding adhesives was a “business decision” utilized in the industry for the past fifteen years.
Dallas County Jury Says Collision Repair Company Should Pay For Unsafe Business Decision
The jury revealed that during deliberations they sifted through photographs of the wrecked Honda Fit that had been introduced as exhibits. That evidence further convinced them that the glued roof panel had separated from the safety cage causing a domino effect of structural failures.
Expert witness Neil Hanneman, an automotive engineer involved in the design of the Ford GT, Mercedes SLR, the McLaren MP4-12C, the Dodge NASCAR racing team, as well as with Detroit car manufacturers, countered that the defense claims that the glue was stronger than welds was absurd.
Hanneman described how the failure of the glued roof set off a chain reaction of structural failures that caused the Honda’s safety cage to collapse and rupture the gas tank located below the driver’s seat where Matthew Seebachan was behind the wheel.
The Seebachan’s had incurred more than one million dollars in medical bills during the four years since the accident. Matthew Seebachan is not likely to ever live a normal life due to intense nerve pain caused by 4th degree burns to his feet. His burn rehabilitation physician from UTSouthwestern Medical Center diagnosed the scale of the pain he has suffered to date and will suffer for the next 17-years as worse than childbirth. The fire destroyed his nerve endings and requires Matthew to wear a Fentanyl patch 24 hours a day. His physician testified that the patch is one hundred times more powerful than morphine.
The jury awarded him alone more than $24-million for: physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical care, lost wages, and lost earning capacity in the future.
The jury’s damage award totaled $41,935,624 and they found the collision center 75% liable and the driver 25% liable.
Todd Tracy, “Every auto body shop across the nation should post this verdict beside the sign-in sheet for auto insurance adjusters at their businesses. Auto insurance carriers do not know anything about vehicle safety and their payday of putting profits over the safety of people is over. The jury has spoken, If you are going to be a patsy of the auto insurance industry you will pay the price. ”
News Media Links To Coverage of the $42 Million Verdict: