Car owner gets sued after lube tech kills mechanic with his car at dealership

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As if I really needed more incentive to diy.

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (FOX 2) - A man takes his car for an oil change and gets sued - after his car was involved in a deadly accident killing a worker while at the dealership.

On March 13, 2020, the customer took his car to the Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership and a young 19-year-old mechanic attempted to change the oil. But something terrible happened.




"He starts the car, removes his foot from the clutch, and you know what happens? The Jeep jumps and kills my client," said attorney David Femminineo.


The vehicle hit and killed employee Jeffrey Hawkins, a married 42-year-old, father of four, and a lifelong mechanic.


"He was an excellent man," Femminineo said. "The 2-year-old who was about 1 at the time of the accident, the time of the death, he'll never know his father."

Mr. Hawkins died instantly in the accident.

FOX 2: "Did the 19-year-old know how to drive a stick?"

"He didn't know how to drive a stick, and he had no license," the attorney said.

FOX 2: "Why did the dealership hire him?"

"That's what I'd like to know," Femminineo said.

But hold on one minute -

FOX 2: "You must be suing the dealership?"

"We can't because of a legal standard that is involved," the lawyer said.

Jeff Hawkins died in the tragic accident.

Jeff Hawkins died in the tragic accident.
That's because the accident happened at work and involved two employees and you can't sue the boss in that situation.

But attorney David Femminineo claims that the person responsible is the owner of the car.

FOX 2: "You're suing the owner of the car who's getting his oil changed who did nothing in this case?"

"I have to do that," Femminineo said.

That's the law. FOX 2 reached out to the car owner's attorney - but he had no comment on pending litigation, other than to say he's going to fight this case in a trial at the end of May.

"When you hand your car over to anybody including the valet or the person at the service desk at your local dealership, you better be able to trust that person," the attorney said.

 
Joined
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This has to do with Workers Comp laws. It was part of the original law in such a way that if it wasn't included, the law would have never passed. You have to read the entire article to see what's going on.
Ultimately, the car owner won't be liable for the death, in fact he doesn't have the "deep pockets" required for a suit like this. It will be insurance companies fighting it out.
 

CKN

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This has been talked about to the tune of about 260 posts on another auto enthusiasts website. It has to do with the way the laws are written. The thing is the Dealership is fighting indemnity for the owner of the vehicle. That's pretty low.
 
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Makes sense to me, car was involved in an accident, killed someone, doesnt matter who was driving it.
I think people mistake the words "car owner being sued" as personal. When you own a car and it kills someone the car can not be sued. The person INSURED gets sued.
In case you do not know, if you lend your car, lets say a neighbor, and he kills someone with your car, YOU get sued and your insurance company handles it.

I see nothing wrong with this lawsuit.
1. Car owners car kills someone
2. Attorney sues car owner which I am sure is very upsetting as I am sure the owner is already knowing someone was killed.
3. Car owner insurance company handles it
4. Car owners insurance company pays whatever a jury or judge awards.
5. Car owners insurance company, after paying the damages can go after someone like the auto dealer or anyone else.

This is why you carry insurance.
It is not going to be tossed out of court, its a legitimate claim.
 
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Dealer had:

Care, Custody and Control of customer’s vehicle.

Employee is 100% at fault.
Which one would assume makes dealer liable but to the person suing it doesnt matter. The vehicle was in a accident and the owner is being sued. Im sure the attorney knows what he is doing.
Owner doesnt have to do anything, insurance company does because the vehicle killed someone.
 
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What in the hell. So the dealer isn't responsible when the dumb dealer employee crashes a customers car as happened here recently in the Houston area and promptly blamed the owner for it.🤡 But the owner is responsible when the dumb dealer employee kills another dealer employee using the customers car at the dealership while the customer isn't anywhere near it.🤡
 
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Which one would assume makes dealer liable but to the person suing it doesnt matter. The vehicle was in a accident and the owner is being sued. Im sure the attorney knows what he is doing.
Owner doesnt have to do anything, insurance company does because the vehicle killed someone.
Yes, the attorney knows what he's doing, sue everyone involved and see what sticks. Pretty standard. I worked at a law firm that did this type of insurance defense. We'd get emails from the managing partner every month on cases that they'd win on behalf of the insurance company. Like yay, the guy got injured and had brain injury but our client was found not at fault. When you read the case, they sued everyone and they only got money from one party instead of all the parties they sued.
 

Job

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Another reason our legal system is so fubar. And attorneys - some of them have absolutely ZERO principles.

Scott
The legal system is ok, it’s the attorney. But he can dream up anything he wants, happens all the time as we see in the world now. This is a monetary case being sued, the driver would be charged with a criminal act I would guess. The attorney can grasp at straws all he wants.
 
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The legal system is ok, it’s the attorney. But he can dream up anything he wants, happens all the time as we see in the world now. This is a monetary case being sued, the driver would be charged with a criminal act I would guess. The attorney can grasp at straws all he wants.
Ahh no the legal system is not “okay” if such a ridiculous lawsuit is even being entertained. There is no culpability on the owner whatsoever PERIOD. Another employee who was incapable of driving said customer’s vehicle is clearly at fault. He/she has many questions to answer to see if the dealership should be held responsible as well. For example, Did the employee notify a supervisor that he couldn’t drive a manual?? The deceased and the vehicle owner are victims here. Obviously not at the same level, life vs property however still a victim. So when a system starts punishing victims when it’s clear there was zero wrong doing on the victim’s part, THERE’S a significant problem.
 
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Dealer had:
Care, Custody and Control of customer’s vehicle.

Employee is 100% at fault. The vehicle was NOT being driven on a public road / street.
Agree, mostly....in addition to the employee, dealer may have some liability since they were allowing an unlicensed driver to move vehicles.

I'm waiting on the wrongful death suit against the man behind the wheel...he had/has both an obligation of integrity to not drive when unlicensed and as you said, was the driver responsible for the death.

Owner of the vehicle should be zero liability, same as the vehicle's insurance company. Things are indeed whack.
 
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I would say the guy behind the wheel has a part in this.
Yes, of course he has a part but the insured vehicle is at fault and the vehicles insurance company will handle it.
The Insurance company can then go after, not the person driving but the dealership whom employed him.
More or less in my previous statement all I was saying is the owner of the vehicle gets sued and the owner of the vehicle insurance company handles it. This is why we carry insurance.
 
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