The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Sandy Springs Police Department are both reporting the arrests of 5 suspects related to a stolen car accident in Sandy Springs. Sandy Springs Police Officers patrolling near Brandon Mill and Dalrymple Roads located a stolen vehicle and attempted to stop it. The vehicle did not stop and took off. This resulted in the stolen Porsche Cayenne crashing into the front side of a second Sandy Springs Police Department vehicle (pictured above).
Thankfully none of the suspects nor any police officers were injured in the resulting car accident. Additionally, the report states that the suspects were potentially involved in additional similar crimes. Police found stolen handguns, ski masks and other stolen items at the scene of the accident. Lastly, the law in the United States offers a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and even though the news reports the suspects’ names, they are entitled to this presumption and their day in court.
Stolen Vehicles and Injury Accidents
While our office is not involved in criminal cases all too often, from time to time criminal cases and civil cases do intersect. We see that most frequently in DUI accidents. However, a close second would have to be cases involving stolen vehicles. All over Georgia, and not just in Atlanta we see people involved in accidents with stolen vehicles.
A common fact pattern is the scenario where someone is rear-ended or even t-boned by another vehicle. Before even having a chance to dial 911, many times we hear of the at-fault vehicle driver opening their door after the crash and immediately running away from the scene. After the police and first responders come to the scene this is the time the injured person hears for the first time that they were hit by a car that was reported stolen.
Who Is Responsible If I Am Hit By a Stolen Car?
If you are hit by a stolen car then you have limited options for holding someone else accountable. If you can locate the person driving the stolen car, you would potentially have a civil case against them. However, generally those defendants are often uninsured and you would be forced to purse a case against them individually. That means you would have to take them to court and assuming that you win your case you would then have to collect a judgement.
It is not uncommon to be hit by a stolen vehicle that actually was not stolen. We have seen it before. For instance we once had a case where the accident happened and “miraculously” the car was reported stolen by the owner moments after the accident occurred. After an investigation it was shown that the owner was actually the person that fled the scene and reported the vehicle stolen. They did so because they had been drinking. In that case they not only ended up with a DUI but they also had to deal with filing the false stolen vehicle report.
Even so, there are unfortunately all too many cases where the person that was driving the vehicle did not have consent and the vehicle actually was stolen. In cases where a vehicle is actually stolen and taken without consent or permission there is generally very little if any liability against the person that owned the vehicle. That means that you cannot maintain a successful case against the owner of a stolen vehicle unless you can show that they should have reasonably known that the vehicle could have been stolen. That does not happen often.
So, if you are hit by a stolen vehicle and you cannot pursue the case against the vehicle owner, who do you pursue? Most people do not like the answer. In most of these situations the limited remedy will be to pursue an uninsured motorist claim through your own insurance policy. People often reply that having to do so is not fair. We agree, but this is one of the many benefits of having uninsured motorist coverage. If you do not have the coverage then you would have to pay for your vehicle’s damages and your own medical bills out of your own pocket.
Injury Lawyers Handling Stolen Vehicle Accidents
The bottom line here is two-fold. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage and you are driving out on these Georgia roads, please call your agent and buy this type of coverage. This is the kind of thing that we see all too often. Without this insurance people are left having to pay for the damages in a stolen car accident.
Additionally, remember that you can be responsible for one of these accidents if your car was stolen and you reasonably knew that it was likely to be stolen. How? Leaving your keys in the ignition is a very bad idea. In that case it is possible that you could have some liability. Also, leaving your vehicle unlocked and running while you are not in it is just as dangerous. Don’t do anything that would risk having your vehicle stolen or having it stolen and wrecked leading to someone else’s harm.
Our Georgia personal injury law firm handles stolen car accidents frequently. Unfortunately due to crime and the amount of uninsured drivers we help people with uninsured motorist claims all the time. These types of claims can help with money for medical bills and the compensation that you need to move forward after a bad car or truck accident. Give our office a call or contact us for a free case evaluation. We are happy to help you.
To set up a meeting, call us today at (678) 921-3320 or contact us online.