If your car has been stolen, it might later be involved in an accident. Then, if the accident leads to another motorist being injured or his car damaged, you might wonder if you would be held responsible for the accident. In some cases, the defendant might attempt to sue you for damages. However, having your car stolen is a common defense.
Permissive Use Doctrine
When your car has been stolen, you will theoretically no longer hold liability for the accident. The criminal did not have permission to use your car under the "permissive use doctrine," which is the rule used in most states, meaning you did not have control over the accident. You can only be held liable for another driver's accident if you gave explicit permission to use the car. Even though your insurance provider was covering the vehicle, they will not be required to cover damages.
Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine
In some states, under the "dangerous instrumentality doctrine," you are responsible to take actions to protect others from your car even when you're not behind the wheel. One of the obligations you have is to report your car stolen. You must call the police and tell them about the make and model of your vehicle. You must also report the time that you noticed the vehicle was first stolen and the place. Write down the number of the police report and provide it to your insurance provider. Doing this will help your legal representation make sure you are not held accountable.
If you do not file a police report, you may find it difficult to prove that your car was stolen. You might want to look for legal representation to help you build your case because, not filing can increase the odds that you might be sued over the damages caused by your car. Your insurance provider will likely need to pay for the damages and your insurance premiums may increase.
When the car thief has an accident, he or she might drive away with your vehicle. If there is no way to prove that you weren't driving the car, you may be accused of a hit-and-run if you do not report your car as being stolen. Under these circumstances, you may need an alibi to prove that you were not driving the car.
After you discover that your stolen car has been involved in an accident, you will want to contact a car accident attorney to assist you. A car accident attorney will help you gather the evidence that is necessary to prove that you were not responsible for the car accident. An attorney for these kinds of accidents can also help any person who was injured because of the accident and help them get the compensation they deserve.
To learn more about the services provided by a car accident attorney, contact professionals in your area.