In the first 17 days of 2023, there were over 400 cars stolen in New Orleans – an average of more than 23 vehicles each day. This is up 100% from last year, provoking national news attention.
Police have indicated that these vehicles are often being stolen by unlicensed teenagers or used to commit crimes. One of these stolen vehicles was involved in a very serious hit and run crash in December, nearly killing a family in the 9th Ward.
With these stolen vehicles so frequently being involved in New Orleans car accidents, many serious ones, we have been getting a lot of questions regarding what happens if you are involved in an accident with a stolen vehicle.
Who is responsible for the property damage to your car?
What happens if you were injured or have medical bills?
Our New Orleans attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer are here to answer your questions.
Will the driver’s insurance be helpful after this type of New Orleans car accident?
Even if there is insurance on the stolen vehicle that hit you, that insurance will likely not cover any of your damages.
A vehicle insurance contract typically covers damages that are caused when an insured vehicle is being driven by someone other than its owner when that person has permission from the owner to use the vehicle.
Because a stolen vehicle is definitionally one being driven without the owner’s permission, the vehicle’s insurance company will likely deny any claim for the following:
- property damage,
- lost wages,
- medical bills, or
- pain and suffering
While you can attempt to identify insurance coverage on the driver of the stolen vehicle – assuming they can be identified and then assuming that they have insurance, which is highly unlikely – their insurance company will likely also deny payment because many insurance policies have exclusions for damage that occurs during the commission of a criminal act.
So, it is almost assured that there will be no insurance available on the vehicle that hit you.
Where do I turn if my original claim about my stolen car is denied?
Unfortunately, your main recourse is to make a claim under your own insurance company.
This is why it is so important to carry collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage, as well as uninsured motorist coverage.
- Collision insurance will cover damage to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault (even if an accident is your fault).
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage will cover damage to your vehicle if the driver that hit you does not have car insurance or, in the case of a stolen vehicle, the insurance coverage is denied.
What if I am injured in the accident when my car is stolen?
If you are injured in the accident with a stolen vehicle, just like the property damage, the other driver’s insurance will likely not pay and your only option will be to turn to your own insurance.
- Uninsured motorist coverage is one of the most important coverages for you to carry, even if it makes your insurance rates increase.
- Uninsured motorist coverage, often referred to as UM coverage, is insurance that you carry that steps in when you are involved in an accident with another vehicle that is not insured or that does not have enough insurance. It will cover your medical bills, loss wages, and pain and suffering damages caused by the accident.
We cannot understate the value of carrying as much of this coverage as you can possibly afford. Just one EMS and ER bill can exceed $10,000 – our car accident attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer see this every day.
Many of our clients are concerned that making a claim under their uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage for a non-fault accident will raise their insurance rates or cause their insurance company to drop them.
But not to worry: under Louisiana R.S. 22:1284, the insurance company cannot raise your rate or drop you in these circumstances.
Contact Kiefer & Kiefer car accident attorneys
Unfortunately, in New Orleans we need to plan for the potential of being victimized in an accident with a stolen vehicle or uninsured driver and the only way to do that is to add that coverage into your insurance policy.
If you have questions about the coverages you have, give your insurance agent a call or call us. We are happy to take a look at your policy with you to ensure you and your family are adequately protected.