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My Car Was Stolen and in an Accident – Am I Liable?

Stolen Car AccidentVehicle accidents of any kind can be quite unfortunate and difficult to deal with because people can be seriously injured. However, car accidents happen every day. And accidents can be a burden to everyone involved. But what if your vehicle was stolen and THEN in an accident?

As if it’s not already bad enough that your vehicle was stolen, but then someone crashed it. No, you weren’t the one who caused the accident, but since your vehicle and property was involved, you will likely have to answer some questions…

Don’t Get “Bent Out of Shape”…

You may want to think about hiring a personal injury attorney to give you some guidance and direction on how to move forward. To sum it up, before you get ‘bent out of shape’ with all the worries you may be having, the brief answer is that you are not liable for something done to you by someone else – especially in this case.

What Are YOU Responsible For?

If you own a vehicle and drive it, it is your responsibility to drive safely. But, you also have a responsibility to drive a safe vehicle. When you are driving, you are accountable for keeping your vehicle in good driving condition.

You also have to make a report to the police and insurance company right away if you suspect your vehicle has been stolen.

The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

In certain incidents, your insurance policy may have conditions. The person driving the vehicle has some precise responsibilities in the event that his or her vehicle is stolen.

You should know and be aware of the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine as well. This all involves knowing what you are liable for, what your insurance covers, and how to protect your vehicle from future theft.

Who to Contact

As soon as you have realized that your vehicle was stolen, inform the following:

  1. Call the police. Inform the police of the make, model, year of your vehicle and your license plate number. Let the police know the date, location, and time when you last saw the vehicle.

  2. Call your insurance company. Once you give the police your report, it is time to call the insurance company to explain what has happened.

  3. Call a car accident attorney. Next, you should call a car accident attorney for help in preparing a case.

Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine gives drivers the responsibility of being liable for any damages caused with their vehicle, no matter who is driving it, as long as the vehicle was loaned. You are free to lend your vehicle to anyone.

However, if the person gets into a car accident, you have to indirectly assume liability. Therefore, it is your duty to make sure that the person driving your car is a safe driver.

Are You Liable?

In the case where your automobile has been stolen and subsequently involved in an accident, any personal injury lawyer will tell you that you are not liable. You did not give anyone permission to drive your vehicle in this case.

Unlike a case involving the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, where the duty shifts to you entirely because you loaned out your vehicle, you do not necessarily have to assume the liability if your vehicle was stolen.
The theft gives the implication that you did not give permission to anyone to drive your vehicle. That is why you wouldn’t necessarily be liable.

Tips for Keeping Your Vehicle Safe

  • Keep your automobile safe by having a security system installed to combat vehicle theft.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle parked in high crime areas.
  • Park in well lit areas whenever possible where there are many people around.
  • Consider purchasing auto theft insurance.

Discuss About a Car Accident Case with an Experienced Attorney

All in all, the chances of your vehicle being stolen are relatively low, but you never know if and when it will happen. If you do find yourself in this situation, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case and your options today at 386-274-2229.

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  4. 4 Things That Should Be on Your Car Accident To-DON’T List

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