If a family member steals my car and gets in an accident and dies, am I liable for property damages?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If a family member steals my car and gets in an accident and dies, am I liable for property damages?

It was a single car accident only damages other then the driver fatality was to a fence.

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you can show that the car was stolen--that is, that the family member's use of the car was not permissioned or authorized--you should not be responsible for any damage he/she caused. A car owner is not responsible, except in exceptional circumstances, when injuries are caused by the criminal use of his or her vehicle; that is because legal liability depends on fault, and fault depends on wrongdoing--either intentional wrongdoing, or excessive carelessness (negligence). Some else's criminal act is not your wrongdoing. (The main exception: you live in an area with a high rate of car theft, and/or live with a family member who has stolen cars before--in a case like that, if you fail to take reasonable steps to secure your car, such as locking it, possibly putting a "club" or alarm on it, keeping the keys out of the car when not in use, etc., you may find yourself liable due to your negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, in how you kept your car.)


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption