Understanding your liability – Auto accidents with your stolen car

The increase in traffic each year has now made an increase in car accidents an unpleasant fact. Every year a number of cars are reported to be in a collision or theft incident. However, the liability for accidents can become tricky in some circumstances. In cases where your car was stolen, you will not be directly liable for the accident caused by the car thief. The basis of legal ramifications in auto accident lies on two major principles

  1. Permission of the car owner – You can be liable for an auto accident with your car if the driver had your permission to use your car. In the case of a theft where the driver never had your permission to use your car, any accidents caused with the stolen car cannot be traced to your responsibility. Your insurance company is not liable to cover the damages for the other car in this case.
  2. Liability by association – Any person cannot be held responsible for the criminal actions of the other if the first person in no way facilitated or participated in these actions in any capacity. Since you cannot be held complicit with the actions of a thief who has stolen your property, the accident caused when your car was in the thief’s possession is not your liability.

However, civil courts do not have a prescreening option for all of the filed lawsuits. As such, the victim of the car accident can file a civil lawsuit against the car’s actual owner (you) initially. The burden of proof falls completely in their hands to prove in court that you were in no way complicit to the auto accident. Simply proving the ownership of the vehicle is not proof enough in these circumstances.

However, you also have the responsibility to prepare a proper defense for your case, since it is entirely you responsibility to prove that your car was stolen before the accident. It is essential that as soon as you notice your car is missing, file an auto theft report with your nearest police station. Make sure to detail the car’s make, color, and model and license number. You should also mention the last location of the car before you noticed it was missing. Keep a copy of this report with you. You should send in a copy of this report to your insurance carrier. This report should also be sent over to the suing entity in case a lawsuit is filed against you for an accident caused after the car was stolen.

If you need assistance with a car accident or just need to access medical centers and attorneys who can help, call 305-305-HELP (3457)

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