No one likes being in a crash, but if it is caused by a driver in a stolen car, it adds yet another layer of stress, complexity and confusion. Injured victims in this situation may wonder how they will cover their medical costs and other losses. Does personal injury protection (PIP) insurance apply in this situation? Will they have to pay for other damages out of their own pocket?
The owner of a stolen vehicle will probably not be held liable for any damages the thief caused while driving his or her car. That said, you may still have a valid claim.
Learn more about how you may be able to recover damages if the car that hit yours was stolen. There is no cost to speak with one of our qualified Flint auto accident lawyers. We have extensive experience handling car crash claims, and we are prepared to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
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Who is Liable for Damages Caused By a Driver in a Stolen Car?
Michigan is a no-fault state, so you may wonder why liability matters. However, even in a no-fault state, determining liability is still necessary. For instance, some crash victims may need to sue the liable party’s insurance for excess damages not covered by PIP benefits.
Unfortunately, even if the driver in the stolen vehicle is the liable party, he or she is unlikely to have insurance. Most of the time, auto thieves will flee the scene after a crash to avoid the consequences of getting caught.
If the “stolen car” turns out to be borrowed, you may have a claim against that vehicle owner’s liability insurance. However, you would have to first prove that the owner knew or should have known that driver borrowed his or her car.
Can I Seek PIP Benefits After a Crash With a Stolen Car?
Regardless of fault, if you get injured in a crash with a stolen vehicle, you are still eligible for no-fault benefits. The driver of the stolen vehicle, however, is barred from recovering any PIP benefits under a no-fault claim. Passengers involved in the crash may also seek PIP benefits, unless they participated in or knew about the auto theft.
In reality, you will likely need to pursue any additional compensation for damages under your own car insurance policy. However, whether you can do this will depend almost entirely on the type of insurance you have purchased.
Optional Insurance Coverage You Should Consider
Be aware that if you only carry the state’s minimum-required car insurance, you may have few options for recovering damages. Your no-fault insurance will provide coverage for medical costs, lost wages and more. However, it will not cover any damage to your car. Collision coverage will also not pay for your stolen vehicle. To be covered for car theft, you must have the state’s optional comprehensive insurance coverage. If you are not sure whether you have this coverage, it is a good idea to check with your insurer.
You should also consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. Under this policy, you may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
What is a Vehicle Owner’s Responsibility if Their Car Gets Stolen in Michigan?
Vehicle owners are expected to responsibly park their cars, which means not leaving it unlocked or with the keys in the ignition. If a car has been stolen, it is the owner’s responsibility to immediately report the theft. If this happens to you, you should notify the authorities and your insurance company as soon as you discover and confirm the theft.
Before calling the police, be sure that your vehicle was stolen. Check first whether any of your family members may have borrowed it. You can also make sure, if you left it parked somewhere, that you returned to the same place where you left it.
Once you confirm your vehicle was stolen, immediately contact law enforcement and be prepared to provide the following details:
- When you last saw the car
- Where the car was last parked (at home, in a parking lot, etc.)
- Whether your vehicle is equipped with GPS
- The make, model and year of your vehicle
- The full name of the registered owner
- The license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN)
In Michigan, you can also report the car theft online. After you give the police these details, they will notify the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The NCIC contains a federal database of crimes committed in the U.S., including car thefts.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After calling police to report a car theft, vehicle owners also need to notify their insurance company. Be prepared because you will likely need to provide a copy of the police report or police report number.
It is important to mention also that even if you have comprehensive coverage, it could take a few weeks to get a payout for your vehicle. The insurance company will want to investigate the theft to validate it and rule out any possibility of fraud.
Call Our Trusted Firm to Discuss Your Crash Today
Injured in a crash caused by a driver in a stolen vehicle? If so, it is important that you seek legal help immediately.
At Jay Trucks, we are prepared to review your situation and determine if you may have legal options. This initial case review costs nothing, so there is no risk for you to meet with us. Our attorneys are experienced and have a strong history of proven results. If we represent your case, there are no upfront costs to pay.
Experienced. Lawyers. On Your Side. (989) 244-0440