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Lawyers will look for any reason to sue.

Before reading the full story, I thought this may be a case where there was some kind of recall for the vehicle for unexpectedly jumping out of park, and that the owner failed to get a recall completed on his vehicle. But that's not the case.

The lawyer will be taking on the car owner's insurance company. If anything happens, the insurance company may settle it to make the issue go away.

I see this case going nowhere. The dealership had care, custody and control of his vehicle. The dealership is responsible for the death.

In fact, if there were any damages to the vehicle, the owner could sue the dealership for those repairs.
 

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Better explanation...
This story makes much more sense.

So the family of the dead mechanic will get compensated, in the end by the dealership (his former employer) they just have to go through the vehicle owner to get their $.

And as long as the dealership, in the end, is the one paying the judgement, then I have no problem with that because, IMO, the dealership is ultimately responsible for the death.

I'm still curious why it took 2 years for this case to come to trial.

And the lawyer sues for $15M, but the case will probably be settled for $5M or less.
 

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To quote Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Why not just use the proper tool for it? Like, ya know, a hedge trimmer. Jeez Louize.


Indeed. I knew something was wrong when the warning "Caution Beverage may be hot." label was put on disposable cups after the McDonald's lawsuit years ago. I mean, when ordering a hot beverage wouldn't you expect it to be hot?

It's utterly amazing how stupid, ignorant or idiotic some people are. It's a wonder the human race has lasted as long as it has. Surprised we haven't killed ourselves off by stupidity or war.

Actually, it's the dealer's insurance that will have to pay out. He'll probably end up with higher premiums though. I could be wrong - I'm not sure how that works.
That's what I meant that the dealer's insurance will be footing the judgement, but at least it won't be the vehicle owner, they did nothing wrong.

Now the real fallout from this payout will be, if there is any financial loss by the dealership, all they have to do is add a few $ to every vehicle they sell, and to all the service work that they do, and they won't be out a single penny as every customer using that dealership will be financing the payout. :oops:

Now that's the American way :ROFLMAO:
 

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This story appeared last night on my local FOX affiliate news, and it appeared to be the same, abbreviated version, as in the original link posted.

But since there also appears to be a much fuller version of the entire story out there, in the DailyMail link, I'm curious why FOX would tell the compressed version, instead of the full story.

I always loved to hear Paul Harvey.....

".....the rest of the story....."
 

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A news story is given so many seconds by the producer based on his/her feeling as to viewer interest and importance AND COMMERCIAL BREAKS NEEDED.
But the headline and just telling 1/2 the story is just a tease, and IMO, irresponsible reporting.

All they had to do was take another 30 seconds and explain the rest of the story.

If I was the Jeep owner, I would want FOX to also do my side of the story, explaining the rest and that the dealership (or their insurance company) will ultimately (hopefully) be responsible for the settlement.
 

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I think the story serves a very good purpose. It shows a legal exposure most people don’t realize they have. The dealer could wash their hands of this. Then the car owner would be subject to a possible multi-million dollar judgement (far in excess of any insurance they’d have) which means the car owner would have to sue the dealer for negligence hoping to get a settlement to pay off the judgment against them.

This story should encourage law makers to revisit the laws in place.
Yes the story does serve a purpose, so long as the ENTIRE story is told.

But if every vehicle owner was fully aware of, and fully understood their potential and extending liability for anyone and everyone that they ever give the keys to their car to, nobody would ever let anyone else operate their vehicle, ever again.

For example, just think of at a dealership service department where you now basically surrender your vehicle for them to work on it. If the vehicle owner can be held liable for everything, nobody could leave their vehicle, but they would have to stay at the dealership and the vehicle owner would have to be the one to move their own vehicle around the service department, whenever needed.

And we all know that won't happen because dealerships aren't going to allow customers in the shops due to liability and it would be impractical for people that need to work, while their vehicle is being serviced, to stay at the dealership all day, or several days, to be available to move their vehicle, when needed.

There needs to be some common sense applied and hold responsible, for any issues, the person operating the vehicle.

Can anyone come up with a scenario of where a vehicle operator, whether they own the vehicle or not, shouldn't, couldn't or wouldn't, be held responsible for their own negligence?
 
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The full story should be told, but the fact is people need to be aware when they are exposed to potential liability. The original story served that purpose.
The ORIGINAL story posted in #1 of this thread is an abbreviated version of the WHOLE story, and probably leaves the reader dumbfounded, quizikal and probably wondering what has happened with the entire legal system o_O

And the abbreviated version is the one that also appeared on my local FOX affiliate news.

To read the FULL story, one must either click on the link in the middle of the abbreviated version:


Or read the FULL version that was posted in #19:

Better explanation...
But reading either FULL version answers many questions.

But if the vehicle owner now has to sue the dealership to recoup any judgement against them, all that does is clog the legal system with additional and unnecessary cases.

So just dispose of 2 cases in 1: the family of the deceased sues the vehicle owner, and the vehicle owner sues the dealership for their negligence. ;)
 

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Even if the dealership's insurance covers the payout to the victim's family, I hope that the Jeep owner then goes after the dealership for any and all additional $ that they may be out for all of their anguish, emotional distress and especially to pay back to their insurance company the $100,000 that they paid to the victim's family.

If the Jeeps owner pays back their insurance company, hopefully their rates won't go up.
 

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Insurance is one of those things that you hate paying the bill for it. You just get a piece of paper with words and nothing really else to have, touch or hold, it's almost invisible.

But then when you need it, you're glad you did pay for it.

For instance, I still have full coverage on my PT, and I could likely get by for less by just carrying liability.

But last year when my car got vandalized on the rear and then damaged on the side by the person parking next to me, the comprehensive that I carry covered both repairs, I just had to pay my deductible.

If I had liability only, there is no way that I could have afforded to have my car repaired.
 
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You've just identified what you're really buying with insurance. What you're doing is paying a retainer for a pack of lawyers.
Basically :ROFLMAO:

I took on an insurance company once for a guy that tried to push me forward a little bit more, so that he could make his right turn.

The morning of the trial, I got a call from his insurance company that they would settle the case for 1/2 of what I was seeking. I should have taken their offer, at least 1/2 is better than 0.

I lost the case because before it came to trial, I had traded the vehicle for my PT. It was very minor damage to the rear end that he caused, and I had not had it repaired before I traded it. But because I could not prove how much in diminished value I had lost during the trade, that's why I lost.

But the other driver had to appear at the trial, but he didn't have to say a word as the lawyer for the insurance company did all the talking for him.
 

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Another reason to carry both comprehensive and collision on an older vehicle, if another vehicle hits and totals your car you will get reimbursed under collision. Years back my '93 Intrepid was hit by a neighbor and totaled. When called by the other insurance adjuster the first question was "Did you have collision coverage" and not how my daughter was doing (she was the driver). Right then I decided to have my insurance company pay me and deal with the other insurance company. I got a better than expected check from my insurance company and was able to get a replacement quickly. Side note, did get a another call from the other insurance adjuster basically complaining that my car was not worth what my insurance company paid me; all I could do was smile.
That's almost how it is now, if you have insurance, but it's the other person that was at fault, just go through your insurance and let the insurance companies haggle it out with each other, much easier that way.

It's called subrogation when your insurance company pays for your repairs, you then allow (subrogate) your insurance to go after the other drivers insurance for reimbursement.
 

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I'm curious why so many article headlines on this incident felt that it was necessary to mention the brand "JEEP" of vehicle that was involved?

It's almost as if they are blaming JEEP for the accident or negligence.

Then there are some article headlines that probably got it more accurate:

How a Michigan car owner got sued for an unlicensed mechanic accidentally killing a coworker during an oil change


The above article also provides a little more info on the accident, in that the unlicensed mechanic wasn't even inside the vehicle when it lurched forward:

"Daniel Thompson, 19, was working on Diaz-Navarro's Jeep on March 13, 2020, when the vehicle “lurched forward,” crushing 42-year-old mechanic Jeffrey Hawkins against a cabinet, according to court records.

"Thompson reached into the vehicle and pressed brake with his right foot, keeping his other foot on the floor," the court documents state. "He pressed the start button. When the vehicle did not start, he took his foot off the brake and depressed the clutch pedal. He again hit the start button. This time the Jeep started. He removed his foot from the clutch, still standing outside the vehicle. The vehicle lurched forward.""

If the unlicensed mechanic wasn't even sitting in the drivers seat, IMO, there should have been a seat safety switch that should have prevented the vehicle from starting and if there is such a switch, then maybe the vehicle (2019 Jeep Wrangler) is defective in some way and therefore the vehicle manufacturer should/could be held somewhat responsible for the death.

Another scenario would be if the mechanic took his foot off the clutch and it "lurched forward" that means that the vehicle had to be in gear, another reason for a seat safety switch that would prevent the vehicle from being put into gear, unless there was someone seated in the drivers seat.

Another article that does not mention the brand of vehicle in the headline:

Man sued for $15M over Oakland County worker's death after oil change incident

And another:


Metro Detroit Man Takes Car In For Oil Change, Worker Dies, Car Owner Gets Sued

I just don't think it was necessary to mention the brand of vehicle that was involved, in any story headline, as the same thing could have happened to a number of other vehicles, of all different brands.

If anything, put the name of the dealership or shop involved in the headline, that would be more accurate and relevant.
 
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How do you do that? It would be awkward to be standing outside the vehicle and with your right foot depress the clutch. Not to mention reaching over to press the start/stop button. Yes, one could do that, but it would be awkward. Obviously, the technician/mechanic failed to make sure the gear lever was in neutral.

I have owned manual shift vehicles and never would try to start a vehicle in that manner.
When I first read that, that's what I was trying to figure out, trying to imagine myself with the drivers door open, standing outside the vehicle extending a leg inside the vehicle to depress either the clutch or brake, then also reaching in to start the vehicle, all while trying to maintain my balance so that I didn't fall to the ground or inside the vehicle.

I would probably have to either grab or hold onto either the door frame, A-pillar, or roof just to keep from falling while still having only 1 foot on the ground, outside the vehicle.

But if that's what the tech did, maybe he did that "awkward" sequence of events, because he knew that he couldn't drive, or even operate, a manual trans vehicle.

I do feel somewhat sorry for the tech, in that he has to live the rest of his life knowing that he killed someone. That would be terrible, and I would think about it every day.

But I also wonder what prompted him to get a job at a car dealership, and he had no operators license. Of all places to get a job, and in a service department, at some time or another, you almost have to know, or could expect, that you would have to drive a vehicle around on the property.

I don't know about these days, but when I went through high school, I took driver's ed and got my license at age 16, like everyone else did.

But on the other hand, maybe the tech didn't tell the dealership, when he was hired, that he didn't have a license, and also, maybe the dealership didn't ask that question of him.
 

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You don't need a license to drive on private property. So unless the wheels hit the street, he doesn't need a license to move vehicles around the lot and in and out of the service bays.
I don't know if that's 100% true, everywhere.

I find differing info on private property, that is open to the public.
 

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Here in VA, it is not as easy to get a driver's license as a minor as it once was. In my day, you could get a learner's permit at 15 years 8 months - just had to pass the written exam and vision test - no driver's ed required. The behind-the-wheel test could be taken at age 16 and consisted of 4 stops signs, 4 right turns and then parking. At that point you were issued a 90-day license and had to appear before a judge to receive your permanent license (after a lecture from the judge).

Several years ago, all that changed. Those under 19 seeking their driver's license must undergo driver's education class (36 hours of instruction) and behind-the-wheel training with an instructor. Applicants must be 15 years 5 months and cannot receive their license until they are 16 years 3 months of age. Must have had their learner's permit for 9 months. Also have to document 40 hours of driving - 10 of which must be at night. Upon passing the behind-the-wheel test (more extensive than it was) the student receives a 90-day license, and the student and parent/guardian must appear before a judge to receive their permanent license. My children all had to go through this process to receive their license and none were 16 by the time they received it.

Depending on the state, employers are prohibited by law from asking certain questions in the interview process. For example, they cannot ask if you have a car. They can, however, ask if you have reliable transportation. A bus, taxi, Uber, and walking are considered reliable forms of transportation.

And as Bob pointed out, a license is not required when operating a vehicle on private property - only public roads.
But why would any property/business owner ever take a chance on someone that does not have an operator's license, especially when there is a chance that they may be operating vehicles on property or in a business that you own?

That would open up and expose the property/business owner to all kinds of liability issues, because they would basically be accepting and insuring any and all behavior and activities of that individual that may have no idea of how to operate a moving piece of equipment.

Just make the possession of a valid operator's license a condition of employment, they could certainly do that.

And even though the dealership insurance company will be the one covering any payout, the dealership's insurance rates are most likely to go up, or possibly get dropped completely by the current insurance company, and then the owner has to try to find another company for insurance.

Besides the insurance payout, look at all the negative (free) publicity that the dealership has received over this accident and lawsuit against the vehicle owner.

Because of the insurance payout, certain rise in any future insurance that they will have to get and possible loss of future business due to the lawsuit, I wouldn't be surprised if this dealership goes out of business within a few years.
 

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Why name Jeep?

1) One of the few vehicles left with a manual transmission
2) One of a few vehicles that might not have a door on making it possible to start standing outside.
3) It was a Jeep.
While those may be some good points, I don't blame the vehicle, it didn't do anything wrong, except be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
 

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Except according to the state law, the employer cannot be held liable by the employee or his heirs. There may be other liabilities. I am not sure. The dealership certainly took that risk.

Whether the employee had a driver's license or not doesn't seem to matter in this case. He clearly did not know how to operate a manual. Many drivers who are licensed do not have a clue how to operate a manual - my wife is one of those. Many decades ago, some states issued licenses based on whether the individual could drive a manual or not. If licensed to drive a manual, then it was assumed they could operate a vehicle with an automatic transmission, but not vice-versa. If they had a license to operate an automatic then legally, they could not operate a vehicle with a manual.

We don't know if a license was a prerequisite for the position. Maybe the employee lied. Who knows? Even then, all the employer could do is fire him for lying on the application. It isn't a crime.

That's the risk the dealership takes.
That would be employee-to-employee and employee-to-employer and they (owners) may feel "comfortable" in that they have that protection.

But if I owned the property or business, I would do everything possible to limit my liability to any issues, especially when you invite the public onto your premises and into your business.

That dealership has 2 job listings on Indeed and only for 1 does it say that a drivers license is preferred.

My local CDJR dealership has 20 job listings on Indeed, and all except 1 says that a drivers license is required for the position and some of the positions are inside desk jobs, which that employee will probably never get in contact with a customers vehicle, but they still require a drivers license. Maybe their job applicant standards are a little higher than some other places.

The dealership involved in the accident says on their Indeed listing: "This is a family owned dealership for 50 years."

Maybe it's time for them to sell out and become part of a national dealership organization, like so many others have done.
 
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