Having your car stolen is nerve-wracking. Having it stolen and finding out it’s been in an accident as well can be traumatic. Suddenly, you are beset with dozens of questions. You want to know if anyone was hurt in this stolen car accident. You also want to know what your liability is in the event of personal injury or property damage, and how will this affect you and your insurance.
First Things First
Above all, when you notice your vehicle is stolen, call the police and report it immediately. Be prepared to give detailed information: the license plate number, the year, make and model of your vehicle as well as the date, time, and location of where it was last seen. The officer will give you a report number; write it down because you will need to give this number to your insurance company.
The next thing you will need to do is call your insurance company with the report number. Be sure to give them all the details. Hopefully, you have a comprehensive insurance policy on your car. This type of insurance covers issues which are not caused by an accident. They can include such incidents as damage from hail storms, hitting a deer or other animal and of course theft. Your insurance agent will advise you on how to proceed.
In Florida, when a vehicle is stolen, if it is involved in an accident, the owner is not automatically liable. That being said, you need to be aware of the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. This comes into play if you gave permission for someone to drive your car and that person is involved in an accident. Under this doctrine, you are automatically liable for damages resulting from an accident caused by the person to whom you gave permission to use your car. However, if a car is stolen, the implication is that the driver did not have permission to drive the car, and therefore the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine does not apply.
Retaining a Lawyer
Your insurance company may provide you with access to a lawyer. The legal teams working with insurance companies are well versed in how to proceed in these matters. You may want to consider consulting a personal injury lawyer as well.
The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are specialists in personal injury law. If you need legal counsel pertaining to an accident involving your stolen car, contact us. We can provide you with an initial consultation cost-free. We serve residents of southwest Florida, including the North Port, Englewood and Port Charlotte areas. Contact the lawyers who care for excellent service.