The now-infamous court case in which attorney Todd Tracy and his clients sued John Eagle Collision Center for more than $1 million due to negligence has made headlines on countless news outlets, and speaks to a number of concerns collision repairers face every day.
The body shop in question bonded a replacement roof to the couple's 2010 Honda Fit rather than using the welds, as per the Honda OEM repair procedures. The couple was trapped inside the burning Honda after crashing into a hydroplaning 2010 Toyota Tacoma. The case sheds light on common insurer/repairer relations, and people across the nation have been keeping an eye on the effects this case will have on the collision repair industry.
As for AASP/NJ, both President Jeff McDowell and Executive Director Charles Bryant spoke to the proceedings in Dallas.
"As far as the facts of the case go, nobody's going to know what the real truths are until this gets to court," McDowell opined. "This is definitely a big up wake-up call to the industry as a whole---not just to the collision repairers, but to the insurance industry as well."
Bryan agreed that the lawsuit is bringing significant attention to body shops regarding insurance companies, and what they will and won't pay for.
"The shops should be the ones deciding what it takes to repair the car, and they should be getting paid to do it,” Bryant said. “Insurance companies come in, and they'll only pay for certain things, and it really is causing people to have unsafe cars.
"I think it's very important someone addresses situations of insurance companies dictating how cars get repaired and limiting payment to what they want to pay for. That's a job for qualified collision repair shops. The job of the insurer is to insure, but also to pay for these cars to be repaired correctly and safely---not to come out and dictate. They're shifting what their position is and acting as if they have rights they just don't have. Hopefully this case brings out these kinds of concerns throughout the industry."