Most of the time, the insurance company of the driver who is at fault for causing an accident pays for the injured party’s damages. However, when someone steals a vehicle and then causes an accident while driving it, the situation becomes more complicated.
Who pays when a car thief causes an accident?
The at-fault driver is legally liable
If a car thief causes an accident while driving, the car thief is legally liable for damages. However, that person’s insurance may exclude paying for damages caused by a driver while committing a crime.
Additionally, the insurance policy of the vehicle owner likely excludes coverage for non-permissive use of the vehicle. In this case, the injured party may need to sue the at-fault driver directly for damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage may apply
If the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or their insurance policy does not provide coverage because they stole the vehicle, you may be able to file a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage if you have it. Tennessee law requires all insurance companies to offer this coverage, but policyholders can choose to decline it.
You may have other applicable coverage
If you have medical payments coverage on your policy, you can use it to pay for your medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident. You may also be able to use your health insurance policy.
Because standard auto insurance typically excludes coverage for non-permissive use of a vehicle, it may be difficult to recover compensation from the driver of a stolen vehicle. However, you may have other options.