An unnamed Rochester Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership customer took his car for an oil change at the establishment in March 2020.
He wanted his car to get an oil change, which should have been a simple routine procedure. Unfortunately, one of the mechanics working at the dealership ended up dead after getting hit by the vehicle.
The unnamed mechanic, aged 19, was asked to work on the car. Unfortunately, Jeffrey Hawkins, his married 42-year-old colleague, ended up dead due to the youngster's inexperience.
According to Hawkins' lawyer, David Femminineo, the 19-year-old started the car, took his foot off the clutch, and the Jeep jumped and killed Hawkins on the spot.
The lawyer said that Hawkins was an "excellent man" and that his child, who was one at the time of his death, would never live to know his father.
When asked by the media whether the 19-year-old mechanic knew how to drive a stick, the lawyer said, "He didn't know how to drive a stick, and he had no license."
After that, the lawyer was asked why the dealership had hired the mechanic, given his inexperience. The lawyer said he was also curious to get answers to that question.
All logic suggests that the dealership should be getting sued over Hawkins' death, but that is not what has happened.
The lawyer said they could not sue the dealership over the workplace accident because there is a "legal standard" involved.
The car owner is liable because when you give your car to anyone, whether it be a valet or someone at a local dealership, that person better is trustworthy.
In the lawsuit, the lawyer is seeking $15 million. The Jeep owner's insurance company has already paid $100,000, and it would be expected that the dealership would be responsible for the balance.
According to the lawyer, the "legal standard" he talked about has many factors. Based on Michigan law, an injured employee is not allowed to sue their employer, even if the latter's negligence in employing a co-worker is why they got injured.
So, the only option is to go after worker's compensation. The fund could help Hawkins' family get wages and medical cover.
The other problem is that the death involved a car, which means the car owner's responsibility becomes part of the case. In some way, the car owner is considered responsible, even though someone else was operating the car when it caused the deadly accident.