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Hit by a Stolen Car: Filing a Lawsuit

In part one of this series, we talked about the difficulty of working with your insurance company if you’ve been hit by a stolen car.

Working with insurers can be difficult at the best of times. They are often stubborn and look for any excuse to deny your benefits. That situation worsens if the other driver is operating a stolen vehicle. Sometimes, insurance refuses to move your claim forward, and your only option is to file a lawsuit.

The Challenges of Suing the Driver of a Stolen Car

Locating the Driver

Successfully filing this suit can be tricky. First of all, it may not be possible to find the offending driver. Most likely, a car thief will flee the scene of the crime, attempting to avoid more trouble.

A good attorney, however, can use their investigative skills to find your wayward car thief. They can follow the clues using the same techniques as the police. Lawyers can review security footage, question witnesses, study property damage, and more. If they can track down this criminal, your attorney could file several claims. This thief could be held liable for more than just your injuries and property damage.

Suing a Convicted Car Thief

If the thief is caught and charged, you can still sue them. This, however, comes with its own challenges. It may be difficult to file a lawsuit against someone who is facing criminal charges. They are already bogged down in the criminal justice system, and there may be no room for your case until they face trial. From there, you must wait to see if they are convicted.

If they are found innocent, you can still sue. Civil justice operates under different standards than criminal justice. Famously, O.J. Simpsons was acquitted of murder in the ‘90s, but he lost a wrongful death case for the same incident. The same could be true for this car thief.

There are unique challenges to suing someone who has been convicted of a crime, especially if they are incarcerated. Locating them may be difficult, for one. Inmates are often shuffled between locations. Once your attorney has nailed down the convict’s whereabouts, the inmate could be suddenly uprooted and shipped elsewhere.

Furthermore, it could be hard to get them into court. They require clearance to appear, which is a time-consuming process. While waiting for that clearance, the inmate could be sent to another facility, and your attorney must start the process over.

Then there is the matter of gaining money from the suit. Convicted criminals aren’t known for their surplus funds. Even if they have a decent amount of money going into jail, they aren’t adding to that amount while there. Inmates make very little money for doing jobs around the prison, assuming they are allowed to do said jobs.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Before embarking on a lawsuit against a criminal, make sure it’s worth your time. Talk to your attorney about how difficult it might be to locate the defendant. Then ask them to research the inmate’s finances, making sure that you could even receive compensation in the suit.

If you’ve been hit by a stolen car, don’t lose hope. Your lawyer is a professional, and they’ve seen many situations that appear hopeless. There are always options to help you get the coverage you need and deserve.

If you’ve been hit by a stolen car, and it feels like you’re out of options, reach out to our firm for help. We have years of experience helping Oneonta residents through tough situations. Call us today at (951) 779-1610 or contact us online.