Vehicle Burglar Causes Accident in North Miami

Miami-Dade Police officials have taken a man into custody in connection with a vehicle burglary that took place in North Miami-Dade. The Miami Dade Police department says the man crashed into a white pickup truck at the intersection of Northeast 11th Avenue and 133rd Street around 8 p.m. on Monday after stealing a red Toyota in the area of Palm Avenue and Johnson Street in Pembroke Pines. Once the man crashed, the man reportedly fled the scene. Both North Miami Police and Pembroke Pines Police are investigating the incident. North Miami Police will investigate the crash, and Pembroke Pines Police will investigate the vehicle burglary. No further details were released.

Liability in Stolen Car Accident Cases

Car accidents can be really difficult to deal with but unfortunately accidents happen every day in South Florida. But what happens when your vehicle is stolen and then involved in an accident? Determining who is at fault in a car accident is usually the first thing to do when deciding who is liable for the resulting injuries and damages. Typically, liability rests on the driver as well as on the owner of the car found to be at fault. The owner is liable, under most cases, under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Under this law, we can be found liable for the injuries and damages caused by anyone we lend our car to or allow to drive our car if they cause an accident, even if we were not present at the time and place of the accident. This kind of “vicarious liability” is based on our ownership of the vehicle in question and the fact that the driver at fault was operating that vehicle with our consent. Consequently, owner liability typically attaches only when the owner has consented to the use of his or her vehicle, not when it was taken without permission. It is worth noting that the law in some states holds the owner liable if he or she were negligent by, for example, leaving the keys in the ignition, if the car was stolen and subsequently involved in an accident. In view of the fact that consent by an owner of a motor vehicle to the use of the vehicle by another constitutes a prerequisite to the imposition of liability on the owner under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine for injuries resulting from the vehicle’s negligent operation by such other person, the dangerous instrumentality doctrine will not be applied to render the owner liable where the owner has been deprived of ownership by conduct amounting to conversion or theft or where the operator disobeys restrictions on the use of the vehicle, rising to the level of theft or conversion. Once a vehicle has been the subject of a theft or conversion, the owner’s initial consent has been vitiated and the vehicle is no longer on public highways by authority of the owner who is freed from liability. Thus, where a vehicle is the subject of a conversion or theft, such as where a third person takes the keys to the vehicle without prior permission, either express or implied, the owner is not liable as a matter of law for the injuries caused by such third person’s negligent operation of the vehicle. This means that if your car is stolen, you will not be liable as long as you did not give anyone permission to drive your car. Unlike situations where you as a vehicle owner have a duty to make sure only safe drivers drive your car, when your car is stolen, you do not have to assume liability because the theft implies that you did not give anyone permission to drive your car.

Don’t Leave Your Car Unattended with the Keys in the Ignition

Although an exception exists to a motor vehicle owner’s liability under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in situations involving the theft or conversion of the owner’s vehicle, this exception is not necessarily applicable to preclude the imposition of liability on an owner where the injuries to a motorist are caused by the negligent operation of the owner’s vehicle by a thief who stole the vehicle when it was left unattended with the keys in the ignition. Indeed, because a motorist has a statutory duty to lock the ignition and to remove the keys from the ignition before leaving a vehicle unattended, an owner of a motor vehicle who fails to comply with this duty may be found to have been negligent per se and subject to liability for any injuries subsequently caused by a thief’s negligent operation of the vehicle where the theft of the vehicle and the resulting harm to the public constitute reasonably foreseeable occurrences under the circumstances. Even in the absence of an applicable statutory duty, liability may still be imposed on a common-law negligence theory for similar conduct by an owner, such as where the keys are left in the ignition of an unattended vehicle, or where the keys are left in an open glove compartment of a parked car, if it is established that the subsequent theft and injury should also have been reasonably foreseen by the owner. Whether predicated on a statutory violation or on common-law principles, the question as to the reasonable foreseeability of the theft and the subsequent injury is generally a matter for the jury’s determination.

How a Lawyer Can Help in the Event of a Car Accident Involving a Stolen Vehicle

At the Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys, you are never just another file or claim to us—you are part of our family and your well-being is just as important to us as if you were our own family. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.

Jaime Suarez

An experienced legal personal injury defense professional in Miami, who is dedicated to helping accident victims with personal injury cases involving automobile accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, slip and fall accidents, prescription errors, wrongful death, and accidents at work.