If collision repairers expect anything to change, they need to become active participants in the industry, attorney Todd Tracy said during a Jan. 9 presentation hosted by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ).
“You need to be willing to have your face marred with blood, with sweat, with tears,” Tracy said. “You may go down in defeat time and time again, but eventually, if enough people get in the arena, you will overcome. This is the right time in the right environment, and our customers want their vehicles repaired the right way.”
AASP/NJ hosted Tracy for an exclusive seminar at the Gran Centurions Banquet Hall in Clark, N.J.
Tracy, the Dallas attorney who represented the Seebachans in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit against John Eagle Collision Center, gave attendees a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how he built the case against John Eagle, and offered some concrete advice to help body shops avoid their own $42 million verdict.
“I think it’s really important to have somebody like Todd here, so everybody can hear what he has to say firsthand,” AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee said at the meeting. “I think it’s important that we share information and we learn. What you’re going to do with this information when you leave here is going to make all the difference.”
Tracy also discussed the results of the crashworthiness tests that he recently commissioned at KARCO Engineering’s crash-testing facility in Adelanto, Calif. The safety tests involved three vehicles: one with its original parts; one with a glued-on roof and an aftermarket windshield; and one with a number of aftermarket structural members. The latter two vehicles underperformed the original-parts vehicle in every category.
“You finally have test data that you can show to insurance companies,” Tracy added.
Dean Massimini, owner of Autotech Collision Service in Washington Township, N.J., called Tracy “a very motivational, passionate and inspiring speaker.”
“He reinforced my commitment to performing proper repairs by following OEM repair procedures, and to make sure our customers are properly reimbursed for them,” Massimini said. “We were always aware of the liability we accept when repairing customers’ vehicles, but some of his graphics really drove the point home.”