Who’s Liable for Stolen Car Accident Damages?

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If you get involved in a stolen car accident, it may be difficult for you to determine who is liable for the damages caused.

In most cases, the vehicle’s owner is innocent and cannot be found liable for the damages caused.

Were you injured in an accident involving a stolen car? Or did your stolen car get involved in a car accident? An experienced car accident attorney can help you obtain financial compensation for your sustained injuries and other losses incurred. If you are involved in such cases, keep reading for more information.

Liability for Damages Caused by a Stolen Vehicle

After a car accident, the driver at fault is usually held responsible for the damages and injuries sustained.

However, in stolen car accidents, neither the car’s owner nor the insurer is inherently liable for the damages and injuries incurred. The owner may only become responsible if the driver was permitted to borrow the vehicle.

Generally, the thief should be held responsible for the damages due to their negligence. The thief’s insurer may deny covering the damage with a claim that the policyholder was involved in illegal activities at the time of the accident. This makes it more challenging to recover compensation from the thief.

Victims of stolen car accidents may try to sue the owner of the vehicle with a claim of negligence, such as leaving the doors unlocked or leaving keys in the car. It is also difficult to sue a thief because most of them flee the scene and cannot be identified or located.

Auto Insurance and Stolen Vehicles

Coverage for damage caused by a stolen car accident depends on the type of auto insurance. Most standard auto insurance policies do not insure against theft.

Some insurance companies require you to get comprehensive coverage to have a policy under them. Comprehensive coverage provides protection for your car against such incidents of theft. However, this type of coverage is optional in a state like South Carolina.

Check with your insurance provider for their policies. If your auto insurance only covers liabilities for accidents, it will not protect your car against theft.

What to Do If Your Car Gets Stolen

According to 2020 statistics, about 14,000 vehicles got stolen from parking lots and driveways in South Carolina. Fortunately, if your car gets stolen, there are steps to take to protect yourself from liabilities and seek compensation. Sometimes, your insurance provider may even think that you were partly to blame for the theft of your car. Below are three steps to protect your claim.

1. Verify if your car was stolen

Before taking any steps, confirm that your car was stolen. Sometimes you may have parked your vehicle in a different spot than usual, perhaps it was towed, or you forgot you lent it to someone. If someone else is supposed to have access to your vehicle, be cautious about calling the police since you can be accused of filing a false police report.

2. Report to the police

Reporting to the police is the second step after confirming that your car was stolen. To do this, file a report that includes the model, color, year of your vehicle, license plate, the Vehicle Identification Number, and where your vehicle’s last location was. Also, notify the police if your car has a tracking device.

3. Inform your insurance company

After reporting to the police, notify your insurance provider that your car has been stolen and is no longer in your possession. You should also provide details such as the personal items in your vehicle.

Be informed that you may not receive a payout immediately, even if your policy covers theft. Your insurance provider needs time to investigate the theft before ruling out fraud.

If your claim is confirmed, you will get paid by the insurance. You may receive a new car or repair the damaged one in case of getting involved in an accident. For a stolen car, you should receive a cash refund of the actual value of the stolen car.

Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

Suppose you got hit by a stolen car operated by a negligent thief. In that case, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, whether the driver fled or not. Stolen car accidents are usually complex to handle, which is why you should seek help from a professional attorney to represent your best interests.

Our lawyers will work hard to help you to handle all the situation’s complexities to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us at the law firm of Elrod Pope for your consultation.

Stolen Car Accident FAQs

What if my stolen car comes back damaged?

First, you should report to your insurer the damages caused to your vehicle. Your insurer should compensate you if you provide enough evidence that your car was damaged when it was stolen.

What about having my rental car stolen?

Consult with your insurance company to check if they may be responsible for covering your rental car. Not all insurers cover rental cars as a result of theft.

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