Getting Compensated When You Are Hit By A Car Thief

Law Blog

One type of accident that is a nightmare to deal with is if a car thief hit your vehicle. In most cases, you can't sue the other driver or their insurance company unless certain circumstances apply. Knowing the legal challenges and what you can do about them requires the assistance of a vehicle accident attorney. They can help determine if you can get compensated in any of the three ways listed below.

You Can Sue the Car Owner

In many states, the insurance and liability follow the car, not necessarily the driver. If someone drives the insured's car, then the owner's insurance would cover any accident. However, there's one caveat: The owner must authorize the driver to be covered. A true thief wouldn't be covered. If the owner is completely uninvolved with the incident, then they are a victim like you.

However, if you can investigate further, you may find the owner is still liable. Much of it depends on the owner's relationship with the thief and the owner's negligence. You may be able to prove the owner knew the driver would steal the car or lied about someone stealing it. The owner could be liable if they made it very easy for someone to steal the car. For example, if they purposely left their keys in an easily accessible place.

You Can Sue the Thief

Your second option would be to sue the actual thief who caused the accident. You can either work through the criminal case or start your own civil court claim to recover damages. This is providing law enforcement caught up to them. Even if they were caught, they may not have the means to pay for the accident or pay if they did.

You Can Use Your Insurance

The final option is the path with the least resistance. You can get compensated through your own insurance policy. Comprehensive insurance often covers hit-and-run and car theft accidents. You may be able to go through your uninsured motorist coverage if you don't have comprehensive insurance. You would need to know who the other driver was for your best chance of an insurance payment.

A car accident with a thief can cause a lot of legal entanglement. It's especially hard when you are not the only victim. You will need to navigate the courts and law enforcement to get compensated by the guilty party. A vehicle accident attorney will help you investigate and pursue the claim in court. Talk to an attorney to see if you have a case worth pursuing.


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