Who Is Responsible for Injuries Sustained in an Accident Caused by the Driver of a Stolen Car?
In negligence cases, it is relatively common for more than one party to be held responsible for a victim’s injuries. For instance, if an employee is driving a company car when she causes an accident, both she and the employer can be sued in court. This ability to hold a third party accountable for someone else’s negligence is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability. There are exceptions to this general rule, so if you were injured in an accident by a driver who was operating a vehicle that he or she did not own, it is critical to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can review your case.
Under the legal theory of vicarious liability, when a driver causes an accident while driving someone else’s car, both the driver and the car’s owner can be held liable in certain situations. However, this doctrine does have limits. For example, in order to be held accountable for a driver’s negligence, the owner must have either expressly or impliedly given him or her permission to drive. There are only two exceptions to this doctrine, which cover situations where:
- The owner’s car was stolen; and
- The owner had left his or her car with a repair service.
In these limited cases, the owner cannot be held accountable for any injuries resulting from the driver’s actions.
Negligence and Damage Caps
Even when a car’s owner did not give a driver permission to use a car, he or she can still be held liable. However, in order to collect damages in these types of cases, the plaintiff would need to demonstrate that the driver was only able to come into possession of the car through the owner’s negligence. For instance, if a car owner negligently leaves her car keys out on the kitchen counter at a party of unsupervised young adults, she may have to pay a portion of the damages incurred by the victim. These damages are not without limits, as car owners who were not at fault in causing the actual accident can only be held liable for the acts of the driver up to:
- $100,000 per person for bodily injury;
- $300,000 per accident for bodily injury; and
- $50,000 for property damage.
However, if the driver is uninsured or his or her policy has limits of less than $500,000 for property damage and bodily injury liability, the owner can be held liable for an additional $500,000 in economic damages.
Call Today to Speak With an Auto Accident Attorney
In some cases, liability for a car accident can be attributed to more than one person. This is possible because of the legal theory of vicarious liability, which allows plaintiffs to hold negligent car owners accountable for their actions. To learn more about collecting compensation from the parties responsible for your accident, please contact us at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale by calling 954-566-9919 to schedule a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options. You can also reach us by initiating a live chat with a member of our legal team or by completing one of our online contact forms.