What if I Am Injured by Someone Driving a Stolen Car?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on September 3, 2020 and updated on March 15, 2022.

head injury after a crashAccidents involving stolen cars can be devastating for victims who are injured in a crash by a car thief. They would likely have to make claims against their own insurance policies in order to recover compensation.

To make matter worse, the owner of the stolen car is not typically held financially responsible for any injuries and damages caused by the thief. This is why it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities in these types of situations.

If you have been harmed by someone driving a stolen car, a dedicated Maryland car accident lawyer from our firm is here to help. We are prepared to review your legal options during a free consultation.

Liability for Stolen Car Accidents

Generally, if you are in an accident, you would file a claim for damages against the other driver’s insurance, assuming they have a policy with adequate coverage. The issues comes when the driver responsible for the crash does so in a stolen car.

Not only is he or she committing a crime, but there is no way that that the thief has insurance on that car. You would need to rely on your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In Maryland, this coverage is mandatory and would help pay for injuries and damages, up to the policy limits.

For owners of stolen cars, their insurance company should be able to cover damage done to their car caused by the thief as long as they have a comprehensive policy. Although Maryland law does not require purchasing comprehensive coverage, it could help pay for damages to a car caused by theft.

In some cases, the victims of a crash caused by a stolen car try to take legal action against the car owner. They may attempt to argue that the owner was negligent in some way (leaving the keys in the car or driving while uninsured), but injured victims are usually unable to successfully sue the car owner.

Pursuing a Claim for Compensation

One way to pursue a claim for compensation is to prove that the at-fault driver had permission from the owner to drive the car. Your lawyer would need to investigate whether the car was reported stolen prior to the accident. The owner of the car may have falsely reported the car stolen when it was, in fact, lent to a friend or relative and that could potentially be cited.

Accidents involving stolen cars are complex. Your lawyer will try and go after the driver of the stolen car or help you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist’s claim if needed. This is likely your best option.

Reporting a Stolen Car in Maryland

It is important to report a stolen car as soon as possible. The owner of the car would need to gather certain information and documentation received when the car was purchased, such as:

  • Make, model and year of the car
  • Name of the registered owner
  • The car license number
  • The car identification number

Once you provide this information to law enforcement, the police must report the theft to the Administration and the Department of State Police unless reliable information is received concerning the recovery of the car. This is in accordance with Maryland Transportation Code §14-105.

If the car is titled or registered in the state it is stolen, the owner of the car may also notify the Administration of the theft.

Contact Our Firm for Legal Help

It is hard enough to be injured in an accident, let alone by someone driving a stolen car. If you are worried about how to pay for your medical bills, reach out to our legal team at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. We have helped many clients review their insurance policies and determine their legal options.

Our free initial consultations provide us the opportunity to discuss what coverage you have and allow you to learn about the steps needed to pursue compensation for your injuries. There is no risk in calling us. We do not get paid up front for our services. You only pay us if we help you obtain compensation.

Need legal help after an accident? Call 410-907-3957 today.