A Michigan man who left his car at a dealership for an oil change and tire rotation is being prosecuted after his car was involved in the death of a dealership employee.
Sergio Enrique Diaz Navarro took his red 2019 Wrangler to a Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealer on March 13, 2020, and 19-year-old lubricant Daniel Thompson worked on the car. Court records show that after service, the car “pushed forward” when the young employee attempted to start it, crushing 42-year-old mechanic Jeffrey Hawkins against a locker.
Thompson had lowered the Jeep from the car jack, then tried to start the car and let it idle to make sure there were no oil leaks around the filter, according to court records.
The plaintiff’s summary reads: “Thompson got into the car and applied the brakes with his right foot, keeping his other foot on the ground.” “He pressed the start button. When the car didn’t start, he took his foot off the brake and depressed the clutch pedal. He pressed the start button again. This time the jeep started. He took his foot off the clutch, still standing outside the car. The car staggered forward.” .
Hawkins was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, he said Kansas City Star.
A lawsuit was filed against Diaz Navarro and Thompson in Michigan Circuit Court in March 2021.
Attorney David Feminino, who represents the Hawkins estate, said Fox 2 That Thompson did not know how to drive the vehicle’s manual transmission and did not have a license. lawyer too She said A dealer cannot be sued because of a legal standard that prevents an employee from suing his boss for negligence, which, in this case, would be hiring someone who shouldn’t be driving.
Since the accident occurred at work and involved two employees, his boss cannot be prosecuted, notes FOX 2.
Diaz Navarro’s attorney told FOX 2 that he plans to fight the case in a trial later this month.
“When you hand your vehicle over to anyone including the valet or the person at the service desk at the local dealership, it is best to be able to trust that person,” the attorney said.
Femminineo told McClatchy News that a car owner is liable for Hawkins’ death in the same way that a person who lent their car is liable for any driver injuries. He said the person who lends his car is responsible for negligent acts because he gave the other person permission to use his car.
According to a summary filed in court on March 1, the court ordered Rochester Hills agent Chrysler Jeep Dodge, where the accident occurred, to compensate Diaz-Navarro if he is found liable for negligence.
“In reality, the owner will be held liable, but the agency’s insurance company pays,” Femminineo told McClatchy News. He said he hoped for a judgment in excess of $15 million.
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