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Shop liability and insurance claim


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Not me. I'm trying to help my cousin with his car. Long story short it's an 02 Honda CRV wth 186,000 miles. Started stalling on him so he brought it to his mechanic. While at the mechanics shop someone went in and asked for the keys to check out the CRV, no one knows who that was btw. Mechanic gives the guys the keys and then apparently forgets about it and leaves the keys in the car overnight. Car gets stolen that night, probably the same guy. He gets about 6 - 7 miles and the engine locks up and he abandons it.

 

So it gets towed back to the shop and the mechanic pulls the valve cover and said it jumped time and not worth fixing. I go and pick it up and bring it to my shop( an hour and a half north) to take a look. Started doing a leakdown to see if it bent valves, get to #2 and found a valve sitting on top of the piston.

 

So I tell my cousin to call his insurance since it was stolen and they destroyed the engine. He does and after almost 2 months they finally tell him it isn't covered because of the pre-existing condition of the engine when it was brought into the shop. Found out the mechanic told them the engine was junk when it came in the first time which is a crock! It was running when it was brought in, it ran for 7 miles after being stolen. It may have jumped time causing the initial problem but was probably only off 1-2 teeth, the car thief caused it to jump enough more to hit the valves and break one off. The mechanic threw my cousin under the bus to protect his own hide as I'm sure he knew if there was a claim the insurance would come after him for giving the keys to who knows who and then leaving them in the car overnight.

 

I just texted my attorney, we're going to talk about it tomorrow. Ben should get paid for the car and I'd sue the shop if the insurance doesn't pay. They can also pay me $10/day storage fees for the last 2 months too. I've been plowing around that damn thing all winter.

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Well if on the RO it was stated the car came in with a skipped timing belt, then yes, that can lead to engine damage if it is run that way. Its like a bad thermostat. It sticks occasionally, but eventually if you keep using it like that, the car will overheat and cook the head gaskets.

 

Now I think where you have a case is, the vehicle was STOLEN. if it was stolen, the theft IMO supersedes whatever, pre-existing condition the vehicle has. Its like if I have a car with a weak transmission in my driveway. A thief steals it in the night, and blows up the transmission. One thing has nothing to do with the other. The vehicle was stolen, and damaged further/destroyed during the theft. So yeah sounds like you have a nasty case of litigation ahead of you.

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Just got off the phone with my attorney, he's going to start with a letter to the ins co. I forgot to mention that the adjuster was at my shop, checked out the car and approved the claim. He had sent me over the paperwork, had found an engine with 140k miles, basically they were going to put a used engine in it for $3k rather than total the car. It was 2 days later some lady from the ins called to interview me, this was after the original shop told her the car was junk when it came in. We'll see where it goes from here.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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