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Couple Burned In Crash Awarded $42M After Body Shop Glued On Roof

The roof repair for the 2010 Honda Fit did not follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Nobody wants to drive a car that’s been previously wrecked. Aside from the vehicle’s diminished value that usually results from the crash – even if the car wasn’t totaled out – there are always concerns about what might happen if the car is hit again. For Texas residents Matthew and Marcia Seebachan, that concern was frightfully realized when their 2010 Honda Fit crumpled in a head-on collision in such a way as to trap them inside while it burned. The roof had been replaced due to hail damage, but rather than welding the new roof in place, it had been glued. The couple had no idea this happened, and sued the body shop that did the work claiming the repair was faulty. The courts in Dallas, Texas agree, and have awarded the couple a whopping $42 million settlement.

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A report from Fox 4 News says the accident took place in 2013 while the couple was traveling for Christmas. They purchased the car used and was allegedly unaware that any repairs had taken place. The shop behind the fix is John Eagle Body Shop, and according to another report from Markets Insider, the body shop director admitted the company did not follow Honda’s specifications for repairing the roof. The suit alleges that, because glue was used instead of welding, the structural rigidity of the car was compromised in such a manner as to wedge the doors shut while also causing the fuel tank to rupture.

Furthermore, it seems the repair work was not listed as part of the vehicle’s history. The suit alleges the body shop covered up the work to the point that the selling dealer and vehicles owners could not have known, though it doesn’t go into detail on this. Fox 4 reports the couple’s attorney, Todd Tracy, is also suing State Farm insurance for allegedly pressuring the body shop into performing what is being called an untested repair.

Matthew Seebachan was trapped in the burning car until a motorist was able to pull him free. He ultimately spent almost three years in the hospital with fourth-degree burns and is still reportedly in quite a bit of pain. The Seebachans say it’s not about the cash but the awareness, and the hope that nobody has to experience what they did because of a faulty repair. $42 million is certainly a big payout, but we can’t imagine exchanging any amount of money to be trapped in a burning car.