But the shop was still found liable for the couple’s injuries in the subsequent accident. The jury ruled the repairs made to the vehicle before the Seebachans owned it weren’t performed correctly. The replacement roof the dealership had put on the vehicle was bonded rather than welded to the vehicle as called for by Honda---and the roof’s separation in the Seebachan’s collision, the jury found, led to the degree of their injuries.
To my way of thinking, that means you’re still potentially liable for the repairs you made to a vehicle eight years ago, even if that vehicle has been resold two, three or 10 times since. I see too many shops confusing “warranty” and “liability.”
I haven’t studied all the documents and transcripts from the case, but the second key point I think a lot of people miss is this: If you tout your shop as being certified by certain automakers, yet you fail to follow the repair procedures called for by those automakers, that could be construed as negligence, which is defined as “failure to take proper care in doing something.”
Again, I’m not an attorney. But the legal argument that could be made goes something like this: As a car owner, I saw on your website, in your advertisement and on your signage at your shop that you’re certified by ABC Automaker. That tells me you are going to do everything ABC Automaker says to do in repairing one of their vehicles. If you deviate from that, that’s negligence on your part because you portrayed yourself as being certified and knowledgeable in repairing ABC Automaker’s vehicles.
I think that could conceivably extend beyond just automaker certifications. Think about other ways you portray yourself as a qualified expert, whether it be the I-CAR Gold Class designation, or training or certifications from other organizations.
Warranty, liability and negligence are three terms this industry really needs to understand.