NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – They nearly died in a wreck after learning an auto body shop had glued the metal roof of their car during a previous repair.
Still badly burned and scarred, Marcia and Matthew Seebachan pushed for change and reform a day after a jury awarded the North Texas couple $42 million.
“I’ve had several doctors tell me I shouldn’t have survived,” said Marcia Seebachan.
The Seebachans were hit head-on and crushed by a driver in 2013 on their way south to the Hill Country.
“We both nearly died in completely different ways,” said Matthew Seebachan.
Their Honda Fit caught fire and the roof collapsed.
“I have nightmares and sleep problems. I’m afraid to go to sleep sometimes,” said Matthew Seebachan.
Matthew was severely burned from his legs to his feet and now must see a doctor weekly.
“I was very driven to become an RN and help people hands on,” said Matthew Seebachan. “Now I’m a professional patient.”
Their lawyers argued their extensive and painful ongoing injuries were due in part to a bad repair job by John Eagle Collision Center.
Attorneys claim the body shop used a cheap, glue-like adhesive instead of welding their roof. The previous owner had taken the car into the shop for hail damage.
“I hope, people absolutely can quote this case and reference that number and I hope it leaves an impression on people’s minds,” said Marcia Seebachan.
A Dallas County jury awarded the couple $42 million this week in a federal lawsuit.
But what the couple really wants is change.
“We don’t want anyone else to have to go through this,” said Marcia Seebachan.
In a joint statement, the couple’s lawyer and John Eagle vowed to work hand-in-hand, “…to improve safety standards in the nation’s collision repair industry.”
The couple’s attorney alleges State Farm Insurance pressured John Eagle into using the adhesive and is now suing State Farm for $1 to send a message to the industry.
“If somebody were to lose their life or their kid or their health, there’s no amount of money that can fix that for them,” said Marcia Seebachan. “Please just care about people’s lives more than you care about the bottom line.”
State Farm issued a statement disagreeing with the claim.
“The comments made about State Farm cited in this lawsuit and press release are not supported by the facts. Additionally they are not in line with State Farm’s mission to serve the needs of our customers and our long, proud history of advancing vehicle safety,” wrote Chris Pilcic, State Farm Spokesperson.