Is Car Owner Responsible For Accident After Car Stolen


The owner is probably not responsible if the stolen vehicle caused a crash.Under Minnesota law, the owner of the vehicle is usually responsible for any injuries caused by the operation of the vehicle. However, this is only when the vehicle is operated with the owner’s express or implied permission.So, if the owner of the car allows a friend or relative to borrow the car and it gets into an accident, the owner is responsible. Therefore, his or her insurance will have to pay for the damage. Our car accident lawyers have handled many cases like that. However, if the vehicle was stolen, there was no permission, so the car owner is usually not responsible for the accident.

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Stolen Car in Crash

Of course, there are situations where the question can get more complicated. For example, if the owner of the car leaves the car and keys out in a way that it was foreseeable the car could be taken.Our lawyers were recently called on a case in MN where the car was left running with the keys in the ignition outside a convenience store.That kind of scenario may happen when it is very cold outside and the driver wants to keep the car warm, or just out of laziness. If the car is stolen in that situation, it is possible that the vehicle owner would be responsible.


There are several court cases that have discussed this scenario in different contexts. For example, where the keys are left in the ignition, but the vehicle is not running. Likewise, where the keys are left on the kitchen counter and a relative takes the vehicle without permission.There are at least two reported cases in Minnesota that discuss the situation where the stolen car was left unlocked, running with the keys in the ignition in a public place. Liability on the owner was found in both cases.

Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are car accident lawyers with 25 years’ experience. We represent people injured in vehicle crashes throughout MN.We have represented several people injured in an accident with a stolen car. More frequently, the owner of the car said they did not give permission for the driver to take it. Oftentimes, these cases are complicated and depend on the specific facts of the case.Please call us and speak with a lawyer about your specific situation.