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So, just before Christmas our main tech was test driving a finished vehicle. Being an overheating issue, he wanted to put it under pressure and choose to go up a nearby steep road. It was a rainy dark day and even darker due to being closer to closing time. When he returned he showed me that he had had a dog run out in front of him and he swerved to miss it. This sent the right front fender and headlight against the side of the embankment and crunched both. I sent him back to find the address and the "dog", under ins. policies, if a homeowners' animal causes an accident, that homeowner is responsible. Now it's later and darker, and he says the dog isn't around and not sure at what curve of the road the impact happened.

Here's is main problem.... Insurance said the car would be considered a total because the estimate from the body shop for a lens, fender and bumper (that it did not need) exceeded the blue book value. This is not acceptable to me or my customer, it's actually completely ridiculous! I can get the parts (lens and fender), my mechanic can install both and include an alignment, but I am expecting my mechanic to pay for the parts. I am sure many of you are gasping at my selfishness right now, but when does it come back to "YOU SCREWED IT UP, YOU FIX IT"! As I said, I was going to turn it into my insurance, but that backfired.

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So, just before Christmas our main tech was test driving a finished vehicle. Being an overheating issue, he wanted to put it under pressure and choose to go up a nearby steep road. It was a rainy dark day and even darker due to being closer to closing time. When he returned he showed me that he had had a dog run out in front of him and he swerved to miss it. This sent the right front fender and headlight against the side of the embankment and crunched both. I sent him back to find the address and the "dog", under ins. policies, if a homeowners' animal causes an accident, that homeowner is responsible. Now it's later and darker, and he says the dog isn't around and not sure at what curve of the road the impact happened.

Here's is main problem.... Insurance said the car would be considered a total because the estimate from the body shop for a lens, fender and bumper (that it did not need) exceeded the blue book value. This is not acceptable to me or my customer, it's actually completely ridiculous! I can get the parts (lens and fender), my mechanic can install both and include an alignment, but I am expecting my mechanic to pay for the parts. I am sure many of you are gasping at my selfishness right now, but when does it come back to "YOU SCREWED IT UP, YOU FIX IT"! As I said, I was going to turn it into my insurance, but that backfired.

 

A few things bother me. Is the tech someone with a questionable past? Has anything like this happen before with this tech? Accidents do happen, that's why we have insurance. I don't understand why he can't find the exact spot where the accident took place. And, if he hit the dog, where is it?

 

In any event, have you spoken to the owner of the car? Does he/she want it fixed? Can you make some sort of deal. You need to remember, the very first thing that will suffer is not the cost of the repair but your reputation if this is not handled right.

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A few things bother me. Is the tech someone with a questionable past? Has anything like this happen before with this tech? Accidents do happen, that's why we have insurance. I don't understand why he can't find the exact spot where the accident took place. And, if he hit the dog, where is it?

 

In any event, have you spoken to the owner of the car? Does he/she want it fixed? Can you make some sort of deal. You need to remember, the very first thing that will suffer is not the cost of the repair but your reputation if this is not handled right.

 

Our tech has been with us for over 20 years, he's a good guy. The last accident he had was more than 8 years ago. The road he was on is more of a steep county road, not well maintained, lot's of trees, dark, and it was raining hard that evening (4:30ish) keep in mind this was December. I am not sure but I think he may have been on his cell at the time, can't prove it, don't care at this point.

The customer is great, she is really cool about it. I suggested to her that we get the nec. parts, install them, check the alignment and make it all good, she was totally fine with that. She is very laid back, she didn't even want to deal with the car stuff till the second week in January.

My main question is this... I think my tech should pay for the parts. There is no insurance involved at this point because they wanted to total the car, take it away from her and give her a check for $2300. I was so pissed when that was suggested, all because of a headlight and a fender. Need feed back. My upbringing taught me to fix my mistakes and be responsible for my screw-ups.

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I don't make the tech's pay for this kind of stuff unless I know they were negligent. For example a guy who bust a tire on a lift arm because he was pulling in too fast pays for the tire. However, this guy has been with you a long time. That should count for something. Maybe you ask him what he thinks is fair. Perhaps you buy the parts and he does all of the labor on his own time or you split the cost of parts and he does the labor.

 

Those were the ideas he and I had as well. I have ordered the parts, the lens is $100 and the fender was $150, both used but clean. He does body work sometimes at his house for friends, he suggested from the beginning that he do the work. I am adding the alignment, even though the tire had no impact, just for the customers peace of mind.

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I would have to agree with most of the comments on this one. But I'll add one more thing to this. When an employee screws up and you as the owner feel like it's their fault and you can prove it do to their neglance... that's one thing. But the other is, they are employees.. they chose not to put a sign up and go into business you and I did. As the owner you ARE responsible for EVERYTHING that happens during the business hours involving the customers cars.

 

What ever way you decide on how to take care of this problem it will lead to whether or not your employee will be around in the future. As much as it pains me to say this... but as the owner it's your pocket thats going to be affected. Not the customer or the employee. If it's not fixed to your customers satisfaction then it's your problem, If the employee doesn't feel that it's a justified problem by his short comings... you're still the the problem.

Either way... it's your problem.

The other advise... try a new insurance company...

 

Those were the ideas he and I had as well. I have ordered the parts, the lens is $100 and the fender was $150, both used but clean. He does body work sometimes at his house for friends, he suggested from the beginning that he do the work. I am adding the alignment, even though the tire had no impact, just for the customers peace of mind.

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I would have to agree with most of the comments on this one. But I'll add one more thing to this. When an employee screws up and you as the owner feel like it's their fault and you can prove it do to their neglance... that's one thing. But the other is, they are employees.. they chose not to put a sign up and go into business you and I did. As the owner you ARE responsible for EVERYTHING that happens during the business hours involving the customers cars.

 

What ever way you decide on how to take care of this problem it will lead to whether or not your employee will be around in the future. As much as it pains me to say this... but as the owner it's your pocket thats going to be affected. Not the customer or the employee. If it's not fixed to your customers satisfaction then it's your problem, If the employee doesn't feel that it's a justified problem by his short comings... you're still the the problem.

Either way... it's your problem.

The other advise... try a new insurance company...

 

Gonzo, I was too afraid to pick up the hammer, but you did and hit nail right on the head! Those are my thoughts too. Well said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, just before Christmas our main tech was test driving a finished vehicle. Being an overheating issue, he wanted to put it under pressure and choose to go up a nearby steep road. It was a rainy dark day and even darker due to being closer to closing time. When he returned he showed me that he had had a dog run out in front of him and he swerved to miss it. This sent the right front fender and headlight against the side of the embankment and crunched both. I sent him back to find the address and the "dog", under ins. policies, if a homeowners' animal causes an accident, that homeowner is responsible. Now it's later and darker, and he says the dog isn't around and not sure at what curve of the road the impact happened.

Here's is main problem.... Insurance said the car would be considered a total because the estimate from the body shop for a lens, fender and bumper (that it did not need) exceeded the blue book value. This is not acceptable to me or my customer, it's actually completely ridiculous! I can get the parts (lens and fender), my mechanic can install both and include an alignment, but I am expecting my mechanic to pay for the parts. I am sure many of you are gasping at my selfishness right now, but when does it come back to "YOU SCREWED IT UP, YOU FIX IT"! As I said, I was going to turn it into my insurance, but that backfired.

 

 

Like others have posted you are the business owner, you accept all responsibility of actions made on behalf of the business. Before you allow/force your employee to pay for anything, you may want to check with an employment attorney. Many states prohibit the employees from paying for any damage, cash shortages or losses, in some cases even due extreme negligence. Basically it comes down to you as the business owner take all the glory and reward, then you as the business owner take all the responsibility and loss. Like Gonzo so aptly posted, do not make yourself the problem, accept the problem as yours and make it right by the customer and the employee. And if your employee makes you think this was negligence then perhaps you have bigger problems in the making. If this employee is as good and loyal as it seems you are indicating he is, why would you treat this like anything but an accident?

 

This dilemma arises from time to time on many forum boards and the answer is always the same. You own the business and you own the employee's actions, which means you own the damage to the car and the responsibility to fix it.

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Like others have posted you are the business owner, you accept all responsibility of actions made on behalf of the business. Before you allow/force your employee to pay for anything, you may want to check with an employment attorney. Many states prohibit the employees from paying for any damage, cash shortages or losses, in some cases even due extreme negligence. Basically it comes down to you as the business owner take all the glory and reward, then you as the business owner take all the responsibility and loss. Like Gonzo so aptly posted, do not make yourself the problem, accept the problem as yours and make it right by the customer and the employee. And if your employee makes you think this was negligence then perhaps you have bigger problems in the making. If this employee is as good and loyal as it seems you are indicating he is, why would you treat this like anything but an accident?

 

This dilemma arises from time to time on many forum boards and the answer is always the same. You own the business and you own the employee's actions, which means you own the damage to the car and the responsibility to fix it.

 

Everyone can stop reprimanding me for my initial feelings. No, I don't need to contact an attorney, that's ridiculous, it was a fricken broken head light and a dented fender, not a fatality. We came to a very good resolve and the customer is good.

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