Who Is Responsible For My Accident When The Other Car Is Stolen?
After you have been involved in an accident, the driver operating the vehicle might quickly flee the scene of the accident. Several hours later, the vehicle is discovered to be abandoned and it is later determined that the car was stolen. The individual who stole the car caused the accident. However, as an injured party, you might wonder who would be responsible for paying for your damages.
The Foreseeability of Theft
Depending on the state you are in, the owner of the car might still be liable for the damages that result from the car being stolen. For example, if the owner abandoned the car and left the keys inside, the driver might be held responsible for the accident because they did not take the steps necessary to secure their car against the theft.
The owner of a car needs to take steps to protect their vehicle against theft. For example, if the car is abandoned and is left unlocked, the owner might be considered responsible because the car was too easy to steal.
When the Owner is Not Liable
In some states, the owner is not considered liable at all because the owner did not have control over the theft and therefore didn't have control over the accident. If this is the case, your only way to receive compensation for your injuries is to take legal action against the driver.
If you are able to determine who stole the car, you may be able to sue them for damages. However, if the driver ends up being prosecuted for the theft, they will no longer be working and there will no longer be wages that you can garnish. If the driver has assets, you may be able to sue the driver, win your case, and collect the assets. However, you will want to seek help from a personal injury attorney so you can investigate the individual thoroughly to make sure they have assets you can collect.
Why Legal Consultation is Essential Before a Lawsuit
You are not required to hire a vehicle accident lawyer to file a lawsuit and you can choose to take legal action against anyone for the car accident. However, the burden of proof will rest on you to prove that the individual you are suing had a duty of care, breached the duty of care and that you suffered damages resulting from that breach. By hiring a lawyer first, you will have a better understanding of whether you will be successful.