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Old 06-13-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
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Need your help & advice

My wife & I picked up our 2012 3500 dually Sprinter SMB from SMB West (Fresno) May 7th. We have enjoyed 2 mini camping trips getting aquainted with it/her/him? A total of 700 miles. On the morning of June 6, 2012, a guy in the big Chevy Silverado king cab pickup slammed into the corner of the rear driver's side, right into the 30amp, city water & cable TV hookup area and down the whole driver's side. He hit so hard his front wheel fell off & he skidded down the hill on his axle. Luckily he wasn't hurt & the van was not occupied at the time, just sitting in front of our house minding its own business. Evidently the pickup driver was "distracted" by his phone!!! (Can we say "texting"?)

The van was towed to a well-respected body shop that has several locations here in So. Cal. The body work seems reasonably straightforward (except for the long lead time getting parts from Germany - 8+ wks). Our big concern is that a portion of the interior (wall panels, cabinets, operating system controls (furnace, water heater, water pump, Espar) refrigerator, microwave TV, etc. needs to be removed & reinstalled to accommodate the body work. The body shop is confident that this will not be an issue for them as they have worked on many high-end cars (but not a SMB type vehicle) with more severe damage than our Sprinter. We are concerned about & want the interior cabinets & operating systems to be in as "new & proper operating condition" as they were when we took delivery of the van one month ago. We've tried to imagine worst case scenarios - leaks, squeaks, notoriously finicky Espar systems, screwed up electrical - that we won't know about 'til we are out on the road again! We just don't know what we should be truly concerned about. Any input you all may have would be greatly appreciated. Needless to say, we are sick about what's happened to our very beautiful, BRAND NEW van. Thanks for your help.

John & Gayle
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: Need your help & advice

Wow, that's horrible to hear, not even one month old.

Does the guy have insurance?

If so, you need to be adamant that your SMB gets towed on a flatbed all the way to SMB to be repaired, and then towed back home the same way. All on the idiot's insurance policy.

Don't settle just for that however. If the accident is costing you a vacation (with already incurred expenses) you need to be reimbursed, or they need to cover a rental RV.

Lastly, and you don't want to hear it, but the resale value of your SMB has been negatively affected. You need to be reimbursed for the lower resale value (this is not uncharted territory, most people just don't think about it).

If the idiot's insurance company balks at any of this, tell them you'll get a lawyer and they'll cover all those expenses too.

You will get through this. Just tell yourself the first scratch is over and done with and now you don't have to worry about it anymore. Best of luck.


Herb
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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Re: Need your help & advice

I would give the body shop a chance at the interior work. If it is not done to your satisfaction, be sure you do not close the repair claim. Instead, have any required re-work estimated by SMB, and continue the claim until it is repaired to pre-collision condition.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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Re: Need your help & advice

Herb & carringb, thank you so much for your quick response & thoughtful suggestions. We did speak with SMB & they thought the local body shop could handle it with their (SMB) input as needed. Also, SMB is 200 mi. away & we can check in with the local guys easily. Maybe we are overreacting regarding the level of complication the removal & reinstall of the systems are, especially the D-5, but as noted, carringb, we can always take it to SMB if need be. The body shop guarantees the work for as long as we own the vehicle. We will definitely look into pursuing the ins. co. for the loss of value issue. Good thought, Herb. Thanks again.

John & Gayle
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Need your help & advice

Sorry to hear about your van but at least no one was injured, even though I am sure you would now like to kill the guy that did it. Have you seen that VW Passat ad that the kid wrecked his dads new car and he says "My dad is going to kill me"

http://www.autoevolution.com/news/2012- ... 44725.html


Herbs idea is very valid. I used to work at a high end auto dealer and we would pursue that for our customers with almost new cars when the accident was not their fault. No matter how good it is repaired someone years from now can tell its been repaired. Also these days there is CarFax and such that reports on claims.

Another thing you can push for is loss of use. Since its going to take a long time to repair you will not be able to use it for its intended purpose thus loss of use. Depending on the insurace companies involved you will have to be firm with what you want.

I think by the sounds the body shop can handle all of the repairs. I don't think they would have offered to do it if they didn't feel they could. I would NOT sign off on it until you were sure it is as good as you think it should be. You might even drive it back to Fresno and have Sportsmobile look it over before you completly sign off on it. You can also get the insurance company to pay for the trip out and back (or have it shipped as your time is valuable) as well as any costs to check it out. Again be firm this is a very expensive custom built machine and you had nothing to do with its damage.

The last thing I would offer is think positive that it will turn out great and it should. Go to the body shop maybe once a week ask to look at the van. Maybe take some doughnuts or bagels to the guys things like that can go a long way sometimes. Make them aware that you really want a great job done and be nice to them no matter what. They can help you with any claims or extra repairs and you may need them for something in the future.

...Jamie
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: Need your help & advice

I have my share of body shop stories
(i also have a close friend that sells supplies to body shops, very eye opening)


I side with BH on this


(smb does not want the headache)

should you opt to leave it local
go check work often
take bagles, pizza and jugs of starbucks for sure

and fup the advise of lower value and loss of use

best of luck

bw
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:13 PM   #7
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Re: Need your help & advice

One there thing I thought of is be sure that you don't pay the deductible.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Re: Need your help & advice

Jamie: Great VW ad/message!

Thanks for your suggestions. Support & input from this forum is & has been extremely valualbe & helpful for us. We've stent 3+yrs. digesting the forum's vast experience & knowledge before planning & designing our perfect (for us) SMB. . . . . Anyway, we're leaning towards using the local body shop. Our ins.co. stands behind the body shop guarantee as well. Will have SMB check van when the work is completed.

The idiot that hit us, it turns out, carries minimal coverage that will not meet the repair costs. Our ins.co. covers all the repairs & then subrogates against the guy's ins.co. Not sure if our ins. co. will pursue the guy directly or not. Any diminished value action or action for loss of use will be up to us & we understand these actions are difficult. To go after him directly might prove to be difficult & in the end not fruitful, as he appears to have little if any assets (did we mention that he is in the country on a foreign passport & his driver's license is expired?) Not giving up at this point without further research.

bilwlson: Thanks!! We appreciate your input. Sounds like we need to buy lots of bagels, pizza & coffee.
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