Hit by stolen car, who pays?
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE HIT BY A STOLEN CAR?
If you are involved in an accident with a stolen vehicle, confusion can arise over who pays for what and which insurances will pay out, especially if it is a hit and run or the thief cannot be identified or located.
Often the owner of the car is an innocent party and either you or the driver of the stolen vehicle will be liable to pay for any property damage and/or injury compensation.
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HIT BY A STOLEN CAR, WHO PAYS FOR THE DAMAGE?
In an accident, it is normally the at-fault driver (or their insurer) that must pay for any property damage and injury compensation. Therefore if you are deemed at-fault for the accident, you must pay for any damage to your vehicle and possibly the damage of the stolen vehicle as well.
However, where the driver of the stolen vehicle is at-fault, neither the owner of the stolen vehicle nor their insurer will be liable. Rather, the thief will be personally liable for any loss and damage their negligent driving causes. Generally no insurance will be available to them in this situation, since they were engaged in illegal activity at the time the damage was caused. Because of this, recovering funds from the driver of a stolen vehicle may be difficult or impossible, as they may not be financial or may be difficult to identify or locate.
If you have full comprehensive insurance, you can usually make a claim and your insurer will reimburse you and then recover the money from the at-fault driver.
DO I HAVE TO PAY MY EXCESS?
If your vehicle is damaged in an accident with a stolen vehicle, you will usually not have to pay any excess if:
- your insurer is satisfied that the other driver was totally at-fault
- you can provide the name and address of the driver of the stolen car and the registration number of the stolen vehicle
- the driver of the stolen car is not a family member.
WHAT IF I AM INJURED?
If the accident was your fault, you have no right to sue for personal injury compensation and must rely on the public health system to treat your injuries and any private income protection insurance you may hold.
If an unidentified or uninsured driver was at fault, you may be able to make a claim for your injuries against the “Nominal Defendant” under the Queensland Compulsory Third party Insurance scheme. Time limits for claiming compensation via the 'nominal defendant' are shorter than for a typical car accident. It is therefore highly recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you have any injury.