Menu
0

800-523-2319experts@tasanet.com

Articles

Auto Dealer Insurance - Garage Policy: What’s Behind All the Auto Dealer Lawsuits and Claims?

TASA ID: 3378

Auto dealers are often targets for lawsuits.  Why?  After a home purchase, your vehicle is likely the second highest purchase you will make.  Americans love their automobiles and often treat them with sentimental value.  They park their shiny cars away from others in the parking lot.  They wash and detail them meticulously and drive them proudly and with great regard.  So, it's not difficult to understand why consumers become so passionate when something goes wrong...or appears to have gone wrong.  Let's see why:

Buyer's Remorse - I've seen cases where buyers sued the dealer because they didn't like the cup-holders in the vehicle!  The claim is that they were deceived and never would have bought the car.  In another case, a consumer brought her car in for repairs and left that afternoon with a brand new vehicle purchase.  Several days later, she sued the dealership, claiming it took advantage of her bi-polar disorder to coerce her into buying a brand new car that she never wanted.  Are these legitimate causes for action?  Mostly no...these are simply people looking to unwind the deal.  Are these covered by the Garage or Auto Dealer policy?  Not unless the policy contains some sort of add-on Product Defense-only coverage.  There's no accident or injury.  The policy will not respond unless coverage is triggered by some means such as legal liability or wrongdoing which results in Bodily Injury or Property Damage.  In the above cases, what is the injury?  No one got hurt.  There was no accident.  These are what we term "buyer's remorse" type claims.  The dealers get sued and have to spend money hiring attorneys to defend themselves, and unless they have the specialty defense-only coverage mentioned above, they are on their own since the unendorsed garage or Auto Dealer policy will not respond. 

Damage Claims - Your vehicle is damaged in an accident or from an act of nature.  Should your insurance carrier pay you new for old?  Some people are adamant that they should have that bumper replaced with a brand new OEM part.  If your vehicle was five years old...wouldn't a used part suffice to replace the used part?  Or perhaps your vehicle was damaged in a hailstorm.  Should the hood be replaced with a brand new one?  Not necessarily.  The insurance carrier and dealer can often use legitimate Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) vendors to "massage" out the little dents at a much lower cost than a brand new hood.  And why not if the end result is that the hood is repaired at a much lower cost and still looks brand new?  The consumer is back in the same position as s/he was prior to the loss.  These incidents often lead to disputes which we can defend based on the clear policy language which provides Actual Cash Value (ACV) coverage.   

False Pretense - There are incidents where thieves use more brainy approaches to steal vehicles if brawn doesn't work. Posing as potential car buyers, thieves can often just drive the vehicle away, steal the key, make duplicate keys, distract salespeople etc. to steal a vehicle.  Is this covered by the Garage policy?  Maybe and maybe not.  Did the dealer voluntarily part with the vehicle?  Was a check given to the dealer that later bounced?  Was it an inside job?  These are all important questions in determining coverage.  Additionally, what if the dealer wrongfully accuses someone of stealing a vehicle?  This can lead to another type of lawsuit, Personal Injury.

Lemon Law - most states have a version of the Lemon Law.  For example, in California it's called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.  It basically provides consumer protection if after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the dealer cannot meet the terms of an express warranty... actually, it is ultimately the manufacturer's responsibility.  Lemon Law claims are often passed back to the manufacturer, but the dealers still have obligations when sued to defend themselves until the case is accepted by the manufacturer.  Often, the lawsuit is so broad as to sweep around the Lemon Law and somehow bring the dealer into the case, when in many instances, the dealer committed no wrongdoing whatsoever, and the plaintiff was just looking to unwind another deal or be completely unreasonable.  

Prior Damage Disclosure - Various statutes across the US require dealers to disclose whether the vehicle being sold has prior damage.  The amount of damage required to be disclosed varies, so, if for example, the damage requirement is 5% of the manufacturer's suggested price, and the repair is only 4%, the dealer rightfully declines to disclose but gets sued anyway once the buyer finds out.  Perhaps the dealer was not aware of the prior damage.  What if only the glass was damaged and the law didn't require the dealer to disclose it.  These often result in unreasonable lawsuits which may or may not be the subject of a coverage dispute on the Garage policy.  The policy must contain specific coverage in order to respond to these claims.  Often, even with this coverage, there will be a dispute.  I've seen cases where prior owners or repair shops negligently repaired or failed to repair vehicles that were later traded in.  In one case, the dealer sold the traded vehicle, which was subsequently involved in an accident where the airbag failed to deploy.  The resulting injury was the subject of a nasty lawsuit.  Who is responsible?  If the dealers were not aware of the defective airbag, are they liable?

Test Driving - Are customers covered on the dealer's policy in the event of an accident and lawsuit where they were test driving a dealer auto?  I was asked for my opinion in a case once where the customer, test driving a dealer auto, had an accident and claimed rights under the dealer's Garage policy as an "insured."  The Garage policy specifically states that the customer is not covered.  Often this gets back to interpretation of the policy language, state laws and the definition of a "customer."  Is a customer someone who brings his/her vehicle into the dealership for repairs or is it a potential buyer test driving an auto?  What was the underwriting and coverage intent? 

None of the above touches on yet another major aspect of auto dealer claims:  auto liability claims for injury or damage as a result of an accident.  In other articles we will deal with lawsuits arising from the following:

*     Bad Faith Claims

*     Auto Accident Injuries

*     Product Liability

*     Coverage Disputes

*     Diminution in Value

*     Class Action

*     Washed Titles

*     Odometer Tampering

This article discusses issues of general interest and does not give any specific legal or business advice pertaining to any specific circumstances.  Before acting upon any of its information, you should obtain appropriate advice from a lawyer or other qualified professional.

This article may not be duplicated, altered, distributed, saved, incorporated into another document or website, or otherwise modified without the permission of TASA.

This article reflects the opinions of the writer based on actual insurance company experience developing and providing insurance for the dealer industry and does not provide legal advice or provide specific advice for any particular circumstances. 

Previous Expert Witness Consulting in Insurance and Risk Management and Its Relationship to Research, Service, and Teaching
Next Lowcost Cleanup Methods for Coastal Sediments and Waterways Impacted by the BP Oil Spill of 2010
Print
Tasa ID3378

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x

Let Us Find Your Expert 

Note: This form is to be completed by legal and insurance professionals ONLY. If you are a party in a case that requires an expert witness, please have your attorney contact TASA at 800-523-2319.

Submit

Search Experts

TASA provides a variety of quality, independent experts who meet your case criteria. Search our extensive list of experts now.

Search Experts

Testimonials

  • I think it's always good to have access to experts when [TASA] make[s] the process so easy."

    Scott McIntosh, Lewis McIntosh & Teare, Royersford, PA

  • As a busy practitioner, managing a sizeable caseload, I can use all of the help available to me. If I can outsource a task, particularly one as important as securing a qualified expert, I will jump at the opportunity. I use TASA in nearly every case where I need to find an expert witness, be it an engineer, an architect, an economist, etc. They have thousands of qualified experts to refer in virtually any field. Best of all the process is extremely simple. When I need an expert I simply contact TASA, whose knowledgeable representatives ask you targeted questions about your case, your legal theories, and your goals, in order to find the right expert for your case. I usually receive CVs and calls from the potential expert within hours. If you find the originally selected person is not a good fit – for whatever reason – TASA will work with you to find the right person. I would happily recommend this service to any attorney."

    Patrick K. Gibson, Gibson & Perkins PC, Media, PA

  • Ms. Darlie I. McDonald RN was awesome on the witness stand, and we prevailed in our case to the tune of  [a] (highly unusual [amount] for a medical malpractice [case] in our area).  I'd highly recommend her."

    Shane Reed, Shane A. Reed Law Office, Jacksonville, OR

  • I appreciate your inquiries and offers of assistance as well as the consistently high-quality, well-organized, and erudite TASA webinars, which invariably have excellent presenters."

    Maurice S. Kane, Cummings McClorey Davis Acho and Associates PC, Riverside, CA

  • Steven Kursh was an outstanding technical expert on our ecommerce IP lawsuit. He completed a massive amount of work on extremely complicated material, in a very short period of time. His work product was first rate and I think he would have done a terrific job if the case proceeded to trial. He is very articulate and helped us. I only wish we had gotten him involved sooner in the litigation."

    Daniel J. Brown, Reiss Sheppe LLP, New York, NY

  • I thank you all for the response to my request for an expert witness...Both Mr. Scott and Mr. Bianchi appear to be well-qualified for this case, but we have hired another expert. As always, I was impressed by TASA's ability to produce exceptionally well-qualified candidates with great speed."

    John Thomas Dzialo, The Law Offices of John Thomas Dzialo, Santa Ana, CA

  • Thank you for your quick response and the names of the two proposed experts. The situation that gave rise to our search for these experts has resolved and we will not need to retain them. However, we will continue to keep TASA in mind as these needs arise from time to time as your breadth of coverage for experts of all types is unparalleled, in my experience."

    Bart W. Brizzee, County of San Bernadino, San Bernadino, CA

  • I have used TASA for the last five years for locating an expert for many personal injury cases. On each and every occasion, TASA was able to find me more than one qualified expert. With such a variety of experts, I was able to select one who met my client's needs in prosecuting these claims. I found the experts TASA referred not only qualified, but available on a moment's notice. Your fees are reasonable and fair, and I will continue to use TASA for the remainder of my career."

    Robert Oushalem, Esq., The Law Office of Robert Oushalem, San Jose, CA

  • I recently used TASA for the first time to locate an expert to testify in a case requiring rather unusual expertise and where there were no applicable regulations or standards for guidance. TASA referred an expert in California who was everything a lawyer looks for in a forensic expert. He was promptly available for consultation, efficiently prepared for deposition and trial and very persuasive and credible with the jury. TASA's administrative services and assistance in locating this expert were excellent, and we would certainly use both the expert and TASA in the future."

    Theodore Phillips, Miller Hauser Law Group, LLP, Placerville, CA

  • TASA has always given me first-class service, but in a recent matter, TASA found the 'needle-in-the-haystack' expert witness we feared didn't exist. We needed an expert for a very narrow and limited issue in a very narrow and limited industry. Because TASA has an extensive expert witness database, it was able to give us a referral almost on the spot. It's why I always turn to TASA first."

    Kathleen A. Herdell, Law Offices of Kathleen A. Herdell, St. Helena, CA

  • There are numerous companies that provide litigation experts. However, I always choose the TASA Group because of their quick response in finding a qualified expert for my particular case. I have extreme confidence in the TASA Group and will continue to use their services in the future."

    Katie A. Killion, Esq., Chiurazzi & Mengine, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA

  • I spent hours trying to locate an expert in a very technical case involving a defect in a medical device. I could have saved a lot of time by calling TASA first. Within hours, I was supplied with the name of an engineer who had more than 30 years of job training, education and expertise in the precise area involving the device. Bravo TASA!"

    Timothy W. Peach, Partner, Peach & Weathers, San Bernardino, CA

  • We were involved in a case pending for more than five years with seven parties from three states. Three mediations failed before we looked to TASA for an expert. TASA referred an expert who clearly understood the complexity of the project and could effectively support his opinion. If it weren't for his expert advice and deposition testimony, the case would not have settled. Interestingly, the case settled within 90 days from the date this expert began."

    Renee Colbert, Esq., Corporate Counsel, W.G. Tomko, Inc., Finleyville, PA

  • Using TASA to find experts for defending our client in a negligent homicide case ended up being one of the most important decisions we made in trial preparation. The experts they suggested were exactly what we needed for the case. I truly did not expect to find experts that would be such a perfect fit for the nature of case. TASA provided us with highly qualified experts in somewhat narrow fields of expertise. A large percentage of our victory is due to the experts recommended by TASA."

    Marta Farmer, Esq., Carl S. White Law Office, Haver, MT

  • I have used TASA's services since the 1980's and have never been disappointed. TASA is indispensable for locating that hard-to-find expert. TASA representatives have always been courteous and pleasant, with the attitude that they cannot do enough to help. I expect to continue using TASA throughout my career."

    Brad W. Greenberg, Esq., Smyth Law Offices, P.C., Brockton, MA

  • I needed to retain a multitude of scientists from a variety of disciplines for a complex litigation. Initially, I went through a series of interviews with an extremely knowledgeable and professional team of TASA advisors. They were able to find highly qualified experts in the specific fields, all of whom turned out to be superior in qualification and area of expertise to my adversary’s experts. I am a TASA believer!"

    Nooshin Namazi, Partner, Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney, New York, NY

  • TASA always comes through in the difficult IP cases. Their representatives work with you to refine the search criteria and quickly send you a list of very qualified experts."

    Timothy L. Boller, Principal, Seed Intellectual Property Law Group, PLLC, Seattle, WA

  • Special thanks to our TASA referral advisor for her quick response to our initial request—we were extremely happy with how fast TASA was able to assist us! Your group does excellent work, and it is always my first stop when looking for an expert."

    Susanne K. Sullivan, Senior Attorney, Southwest Airlines Corporation, Dallas, TX

  • When we needed an expert in a patent infringement lawsuit, we turned to TASA. We were looking for a witness qualified in two unrelated technical areas, and TASA worked with us to identify and refine our requirements. TASA performed well, promptly providing us with several excellent candidates to consider, one of whom we retained."

    Joseph T. Miotke, Partner, IP Practice Group, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Milwaukee, WI

  • Our team had a very positive experience with TASA. The Expert was professional, efficient, and certainly an expert in his field. His work and testimony contributed to a winning decision for our client! We will recommend the Expert and TASA whenever appropriate."

    Stephanie Sprague, Esq., CT

  • (The Expert) WAS A PERFECT FIT for my case: qualified, competent, easy to work with, attentive to detail, knowledgeable, smart, communicative, enthusiastic, resourceful—have I left anything out? I highly recommend TASA and would be happy to share my experience with anyone else. Thank you!"

    Michael Porrazzo, Esq., The Porrazzo Law Firm, Mission Viejo, CA

  • The expert was very thorough. TASA was quick to respond with an answer to my request. I have used TASA in the past under various other law firms and have been pleased. TASA continues to live up to expectations and then some."

    Anne Desormier-Cartwright, Esq., Jupiter, FL

  • Your organization found us an appropriate expert witness in less than one day. This was excellent service. The expert you found was excellent and a pleasure to work with."

    William A. Ehrlich, Esq., Allentown, PA

  • (The Expert)…accomplished exactly what we wanted. TASA was very prompt and efficient in locating him. All fees were reasonable."

    J. Michael Lehman, Esq., Bruce, Bruce, & Lehman, Wichita, KS

  • We needed an Internet expert right away to meet a deadline. One phone call to TASA, and in less than a day, TASA called back with a list of 8-10 experts who were exactly what I needed. The TASA expert I chose knew the business and mechanics of the Internet so well—he was a PhD and professor who had written a book on the subject—that he put the fear of truth in the defendant that caused him to settle. When I get the kind of service that I did from TASA, I stick with it and use it again and again."

    Philip Green, Attorney at Law, Green and Green, San Rafael and San Francisco, CA

  • Excellent—in a word. I just do not have the time to hunt for experts. (The Expert) was fantastic. Thank you for providing such a quality service."

    Francesca Carinci, Esq., Steubenville, OH

  • TASA stands for Tops At Serving Attorneys. It’s always rewarding working with TASA."

    Marshall A. Bernstein, Esq., Philadelphia, PA.

  • That was, however, one of the best and most interesting webinars I've seen in the last few years.  Thank you for hosting it and introducing me to such a knowledgeable and caring person." - Referencing the Medicolegal Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Civilian and Military Populations webinar. 

    Lori Bauer Apodaca, The Law Office of Lori Bauer Apodaca, Los Lunas, NM 

  • I needed a dental malpractice expert to assist me in a complex negligence claim. The very able staff at TASA had no difficulty identifying a knowledgeable professional who rendered a reasonable opinion in support of the case, which aided our client in receiving a fair amount of compensation. I am grateful to TASA for its invaluable assistance!"

    John Hermina, Hermina Law Group, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland & Washington, DC

  • For many years I have relied upon TASAmed to provide excellent medical malpractice experts. As a sole practitioner, I find it reassuring to know that a seasoned expert is just a call away. Usually, TASAmed has found just the right expert in a day or two. The support and guidance I receive from TASAmed is a vital part of my law practice, and I have come to expect both great service and high rewards from my TASA cases."

    Thomas J. Massey, The Thomas J. Massey Law Firm, Fallbrook, CA

  • The caliber of physicians that TASAmed has referred to us is superb. Prior referral groups used the same experts over and over again. With TASAmed I have access to experts all over the United States. I’m not limited to the same experts. The TASAmed staff is easy to work with and very professional, with an established track record. When I call for a medical expert, I’m called back the same day, and I often have an idea of what expert will be contacted before my first call is completed."

    Kari Alexander, Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, Texas

  • We hadn’t been able to find the medical expert we needed, and, frankly, I didn’t think we’d find one in that field. TASAmed was able to find us an expert with the exact expertise and medical experience we needed. Your referral advisor was very helpful and found our expert in one day."

    Kurt Osenbaugh, Partner, Alston & Bird, Los Angeles, CA

  • TASAmed’s service was prompt and efficient in connecting us with the right person. The expert was so cooperative and helpful. With how challenging it is to find a narrow area of medical expertise, it’s extra helpful to have your TASAmed pool to plug into instantaneously."

    Greg Roosevelt, Esq., Law Office of Greg Roosevelt, Edwardsville, IL

  • TASAmed has connected me to credible experts in four medical cases just this year. TASAmed and the referred experts respond quickly, the fees are reasonable, and the referrals are well tuned to the fields I request. Since the experts are already associated with TASAmed, they are comfortable having substantial conversations about the case, both before and after record review."

    Martin A. Cannon, Esq., Cannon Law Offices, Crescent, IA

  • I have used TASAmed a number of times and have always been happy with your give-and-take timeliness. Once I requested a medical expert in a particular field, but, after speaking with your referral advisor, we concluded that an expert in another field would be more effective. That same day, I spoke to two experts the advisor gave me, and I retained one."

    Mark A. Lope, Esq., Lope and Honlihan, Butler, PA

  • Very close to the time of trial, the TASAmed advisor quickly referred me to several experienced ER trauma physicians to review medical records and prepare me for cross-examination. After selecting my expert, I over-nighted records for review, and the doctor found valuable information for my client's defense. Thank you, TASAmed, for this timely, specific, valuable referral."

    Charles Morgan, Esq., Law Office of Charles L. Morgan, Jr., Charlotte, NC