If my car was towed after an accident and the rims were stolen, who is liable?

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If my car was towed after an accident and the rims were stolen, who is liable?

My car was towed after an accident. While on the company’s property my rims were stolen. The insurance company totaled my car but took deductions off because my car did not have wheels on it. The company claimed not to be responsible. The stolen rims are separate from the accident. They should be covered by insurance.

Asked on June 8, 2011 under Insurance Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The insurer is only responsible, if you had collision, for damage to what was on the car at the accident time. If you could prove the rims were there as of the accident, they would be responsible for it, but that can be a difficult thing to prove.

If you have theft insurance, you may be able to put in a claim for theft--especially since that appears to be what happened.

Alternately, if you can show that the rims were stolen (or, for that matter lost) while the car was under the control of the towing company, the towing company would be liable.

A key factor may be the cost of pursuing legal remedies--i.e. a lawsuit--if you need to (if someone doesn't step up and pay voluntarily). Winning is not a given, since it may be difficult to prove when the rims disappeared; you need to consider whether the cost and time of a suit, given that you may lose, is worth what you hope to, best case, recover. Good luck.


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