Repairers getting disheartened about their fight to repair vehicles correctly should look to the May issue of Texas Automotive for validation that their work matters.
Conversely, those choosing to cut corners on or remain ignorant about OEM repair procedures should review the issue and take a good, hard look in the mirror.
For the magazine carries a powerful exclusive interview with Marcia Seebachan, who along with her husband Matthew was nearly killed after a 2013 collision involving their 2010 Honda Fit.
Writer Joel Gausten in a Texas Automotive editor’s message called the new article “the most important story I’ve ever done.”
The article is a must-read not just for the auto body industry but every party whose behavior has ramifications for the quality of repairs on a consumer’s vehicle. Insurers, parts suppliers, information providers and service and equipment sales reps all could help or hinder the repairer in delivering a vehicle back in safe condition.
The recent Collision Industry Conference kept an empty chair on stage to remind such participants of that end customer.
A jury in 2017 concluded John Eagle Collision Center bore 75 percent of the responsibility for their ordeal (the other driver was deemed 25 percent culpable) for its failure to follow Honda repair procedures in repairing hail damage for the Fit’s prior owner.
According to the jury, the repairer owed $31.5 million out of the $42 million sought by the lawsuit to cover costs like medical bills and reduced quality of life. The couple later settled for an undisclosed amount.
“After our trial, we had friends ask us, ‘Does this type of jury judgment make it worth it?’” Marcia Seebachan said, according to Texas Automotive. “We said, ‘Absolutely not.’ There’s no value that we could have put on having our marriage changed and having Matthew lose the purpose that he had in life.”
Years after the 2013 crash, Marcia Seebachan still suffers “frequent pelvic pain and ocular migraines” and a vascular surgeon must constantly check a stent in her aorta, Texas Automotive reported.
“My husband will always be in pain,” she said, according to Texas Automotive. “We often get asked, ‘Has it gotten better? Will it get better?’ It’s not reasonable to assume it will. There’s a certain degree of pain that will always exist with the repair to his burns and the nerves involved in that.”
Shops can follow up that interview by watching Seebachan’s testimony April 9 before the Texas House Insurance Committee. She was there in support of House Bill 1348, which would require insurers to pay for all OEM repair procedures. Video of that appearance can be seen here (starts around 2:54:15).
Read the rest of the Seebachan interview on Texas Automotive here. Then resume fighting the good fight — or shape up immediately and start doing so.
Texas Automotive, May 2019
Texas Automotive, May 2019
Marcia Seebachan, center front, speaks with Ware Wendell, center left, executive director of Texas Watch, on March 9, 2019, following a hearing before the Texas House Insurance Committee on House Bill 1348 (Screenshot from Texas Legislature video)
North Dakota State University Impact Biomechanical Laboratory director Mariusz Ziejewski evaluated the injuries of Matthew and Marcia Seebachan following the crash of their 2010 Fit. (Provided by Tracy Law Firm)