ASA-OH recently announced its new legal referral program.
The program is designed “to assist shops with negotiating with insurance companies and limiting their liability against expensive consumer lawsuits,” said ASA-OH Executive Director Matt Dougher.
Discussing the need for the program, Dougher explained, “A recent Ohio jury verdict and subsequent negative appellate court decision cost a Cincinnati-area body shop owner over six figures in damages and attorneys’ fees for Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act violations. Courts have been clear that the shop is considered the expert and needs to repair the vehicle using proper manufacturer’s repair procedures. Unfortunately, many insurance companies or customers resist paying for such OEM mandated repairs.”
In order to offer the legal referral program to members, ASA-OH partnered with David A. Miller of Buechner Haffer Meyers and Koenig, Co., LPA. According to Dougher, “Attorney Miller recently had success on behalf of a member shop in negotiating with a large insurance company. By citing relevant Ohio law and utilizing OEM position statements, the shop was fully compensated by the insurer who originally refused to pay for these necessary repairs and tests. More importantly, the consumer’s vehicle was repaired to the manufacturer’s repair specifications. The consumer was satisfied and the shop limited future liability.”
Through the program, ASA-OH members can receive an initial five to ten-minute telephone consultation at no charge about the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act as it pertains to collision and mechanical shops and their negotiations with insurance companies. Consultations can be scheduled through Dougher.
Association members will also enjoy a discounted rate for drafting customer waivers to mitigate shop liability for a repair outside of OEM guidelines at the customer’s directions and other legal documents needed to protect the shop. In addition, members will receive a discounted flat-fee investigation and demand letter to an insurer on behalf of the shop for refusal to pay for necessary repairs or pushing aftermarket parts on a consumer. In the event that a shop is sued, threatened with a lawsuit or needs to take legal action against another party, members will receive a discounted hourly rate through the legal referral program.