Can I sue my auto insurance company for stealing my car?

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Can I sue my auto insurance company for stealing my car?

My car was totaled about 2 months ago. My car insurance company sent someone out to look an assess the car. he called me and told me it could be fixed. Days later I called them and the claim adjuster informed me my car was totaled and that I needed to release it from the lot. At this point, I did not even know where my car was. I was to told to call the car lot and tell them to release the car or I would be paying storage fees out of pocket. After I released the car, I have heard nothing. The only thing I hear is my financing company, My car lender calling me daily because my amount owed is now in collections. It has no idea my car is even totaled and needs to speak with my insurer. However, I have left emails and messages and cannot get this woman on the phone. I never signed any papers, never received any total loss form in the mail. I have no idea where my car is or what to do about it. I had full coverage insurance. What do I do?

Asked on April 26, 2017 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You  cannot sue the insurer if a person--whether or not an employee or agent of theirs--stole the car, because an employer is NOT liable for the criminal acts of others, even employees--committing crimes is not part of what the company hires people to do, for example, and they are not liable for people doing what they are not supposed to, like committing criminal acts.
If the lot was negligent or careless in who it released the car to, you could sue the lot for its negligence: people and business are resposible for when their carelessness causes other's property to be lost, stolen, damaged, etc. (The insurer is no responsible for what the lot did, unless the insurer actually owned and ran the lot--you would proceed against the lot itself.) And if you identify the thief or thieves, you can sue him, her, or then for the car, too.


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