When someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, the driver of the car is typically liable for damages. However, when the car is stolen, who is responsible? The owner of the car (and consequently their insurance or lack of it), or the driver of the car (the thief)?
When the Owner is Liable
Some examples of when an owner may be held liable for damages even if their car is stolen could include when the owner:
- Leaves the keys in the car, easily visible to others
- Leaves the car running and unlocked
- Leaves the car in an area where it is likely to be stolen, with keys available
- Leaves the car unattended around minors with keys assessable
Laws around leaving a car running, and/or with visible keys, are in place in several municipalities, and the goal of these are to reduce theft, but also to reduce the likelihood of a vehicle rolling away unintentionally. In such cases, a theft is then seen as “reasonable and foreseeable consequences”, making the owner liable for the damages.
Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you have the right to have everything restored to the best of its ability. You may be entitled to medical reimbursement, compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering. It makes sense then that you be aware of who is liable for such costs so you can re-start your life as quickly as possible.
In most cases, the owner of a stolen vehicles isn’t liable for damages when their vehicle is stolen. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. The law is in place for those owners who didn’t give permission to the driver who caused the damages. There is some grey area in what constitutes permission, or even where the theft is likely or enticing.
If you are unclear about who is liable for your injuries, contact a lawyer who specializes in auto injury cases. It is not your responsibility to determine who is liable, but rather to work on healing and getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, Simon Law group can help! Call today for a free consultation to determine who is liable for compensating you for your loss and how to go about being restored back to how you were before the loss. Serving the Greater Phoenix area with personal injury law, Simon Law can be reached anytime day or night at 480-745-2450.