Legal Question in Insurance Law in Florida

Property damage during unauthorized use of motor vehicle

My work van, parked in my driveway, was struck at low speed by a run-away car, abandoned and left in gear in the street by the driver who had been pulled over for speeding by a local sheriff. The car rolled down the street, hopped the curb and struck my van. The driver had apparently swiped the keys off the unattended desk at a local new car dealership, and went for a ride in a brand new 4 door sedan. There is a police accident report, but it is not clear if the car had been reported stolen before the accident occurred.

The dealership has refused to repair, or pay for the repairs to my van (about $800.00 worth). They say I should get the money from the driver. Their car insurance carrier says they are not liable since the accident happened during ''unauthorized use'' of the vehicle.

I have been unable to find the young man who was driving the car to try to collect damages from him. I feel that the dealership, while not at ''fault'' directly, is responsible for keeping their keys under reasonable security, and failed to do so. Is there some way I can collect from them, or their general liability carrier? Can I take them to small claims court? What are my options?

Asked on 3/15/05, 5:11 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Re: Property damage during unauthorized use of motor vehicle

Get the police report to confirm where the keys were kept and ,if your theory is correct, sue in Small Claims Court.

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Answered on 3/15/05, 6:06 pm

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