With the level of car thefts in Chicago, motor vehicle accidents involving stolen vehicles are on the rise. It begs the question, who do I sue if injured in an accident involving a stolen vehicle. Of course, every situation is different, but generally speaking insurers will try to deny claims against their client if their vehicle was being used without permission. In these kinds of cases, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist in laying out your legal options and lead negotiations with the insurance companies to win damages in your claim.
Often times, when cars are stolen, safe driving is the last thing on the minds of the drivers when accidents occur. The Insurance information Institute reports that in 2022, there was a 7% increase over 2021 in car thefts in the US. Thieves often drive recklessly when trying to evade police, which increases the chances for collateral damage. When damage occurs, it’s not likely a thief will stop the car, get out and exchange details with the injured party, which adds insult to injury in the form of a hit-and-run.
What to Do When Involved in a Hit-and-Run Crash
When involved in a hit-and-run crash, it can be tempting to chase after the driver, but this can result in further damage, great injury or death. The first thing to do when involved in a hit-and-run accident is call 9-11 to request medical help and police personnel to file an official police report. Seeking medical help is of the utmost importance when involved in any car accident. In terms of seeking the at-fault driver involved, the police are the professionals. Leaving to them the task of tracking down the criminals is the best approach. You may also need to report the accident to your insurer in an effort to launch a claim.
Comprehensive insurance coverage will typically cover damages brought on by theft, fire or natural disasters after you pay the deductible. Collision coverage may cover damages caused by a collision, but, of course, these are examples of optional insurance coverage and may not factor into or apply to your specific claim.
Can I Sue the Thief in A Personal Injury Claim?
If the police apprehend the thief, you will be in a position to identify the at-fault driver and sue them for damages. However, collecting those damages may be exceedingly difficult. If they happen to have automobile insurance, the insurer may deny any claim resulting from illegal activity. Suing the driver may only lead to a pyrrhic victory if the driver does not have the income or assets to pay the damages.
Can I Sue the Police Department if the Accident Resulted from a Car Chase?
If your injuries resulted from a police chase, it is possible the city or municipality and its law enforcement agency may be held responsible. However, in Illinois this is governed on a case-by-case basis. Typically, police officers are not held responsible for injuries suffered by third-parties resulting from a police car chase. However, your personal injury attorney may be able to stake your claim on lack of police training, a departure from established police policies regarding police pursuits or even improper officer supervision.
Can I Sue the Owner of a Stolen Vehicle for Damages?
Of course, it’s distasteful, but suing the owner of a vehicle for damages resulting from the theft of their vehicle is a logical step just because the owner will likely have car insurance. However, the owner’s insurance will more than likely deny any claim resulting from theft of the vehicle simply because the driver did not have permission to drive the car. Generally speaking, the owner of a stolen vehicle is not liable for damages caused by their stolen vehicle. However, if the owner misrepresented the nature of the theft in an effort to avoid liability, they may be held liable for damages and potentially deal with criminal charges for insurance fraud.
If you’ve been injured as a result of an accident caused by a stolen vehicle, it’s important to have the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney to give you the options at your disposal in filing such a claim. Bizzieri Law Offices offer a vast level of experience in filing personal injury claims in the aftermath of a car accident. Though a stolen vehicle limits the available options for recovery of damages, an attorney can identify the avenues available to you in your specific case. They can uncover the array of damages you may be entitled to and also negotiate the highest award damages available to you.
Call our offices at 773.881.9000 to speak with an attorney if you want a Chicago personal injury attorney that is responsive and reliable to fight hard to recover all of the damages you’re eligible to receive. We never charge a fee for your case review and we don’t collect unless we recover damages for you.