In an Accident, What if the Other Driver Was in a Stolen Car?
Determining liability in a car accident is complicated at the best of times. The actions of each driver must be evaluated, and fault must be determined. If one of the drivers was in a stolen vehicle, the liability becomes even more complex. In this article, we will explore these issues in detail, offering suggestions for what to do and explaining how the process works.
Investigate the Theft Claims
Before trying to receive compensation for your injuries, call a legal professional. Have them investigate the claims that the car was stolen. It is possible that, attempting to avoid problems with their insurance company, the car’s owner is lying. You do not want to assume that the car is stolen without evidence. Have your attorney verify the story before moving forward.
Generally, insurance follows a car, not a driver. For example, someone loans their car to a friend. If that friend were in an accident, the car owner’s insurance can still provide benefits to everyone involved. This is generally not so if the car is stolen.
Insurance companies don’t want to cover anyone who was using the vehicle illegally. Trying to receive benefits from them could be a dead end. In that situation, it may be necessary to rely on your own insurance, even if the other driver was at fault. Typically, your insurance provider will be understanding of your plight and provide your benefits. Sometimes, however, they may refuse.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a stolen car, speak to a lawyer. They will be especially useful if either or both insurance companies are withholding benefits. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with them, helping you get the compensation you need.
Pursuing Civil Justice
If the driver of a stolen car hits you, they will most likely flee the scene. You probably won’t know about the car’s history until after the thief is caught. This is where they will face criminal justice and hopefully be penalized for their crimes. You could even be brought in as a witness, displaying your injuries and making their sentence harsher.
Criminal justice is a great thing to have, but it doesn’t always benefit the victim. If you were injured by the other driver, you may have medical bills and lost income piling up.Fortunately, it is possible to sue the driver, even if they are serving a criminal sentence.
Suing someone who is serving a criminal sentence has its challenges. For one, it may be difficult to locate them. Inmates are often shuffled between facilities. Also, they need clearance from their jails or prisons to appear in court. This can be a lengthy process, as progress is bogged down in red tape. Just as clearance is almost given, the inmate could be moved again, starting the whole process over. Finally, a convict could be “litigation proof.” They’ve had many of their freedoms removed and aren’t earning much income in jail. They may have no ability to compensate you in a lawsuit. Make sure you have your lawyer investigate the defendant thoroughly. You want to make sure pursuing a civil case will be worth the effort.
If you were in an accident involving a stolen vehicle, let us help. We can use our skills and legal know-how to help you seek the compensation you deserve. You can schedule a free consultation at (918) 347-6456 or contact us online.