On June 30, a man stole a box truck and drove wildly through Brooklyn and Queens. Roman Pena took the truck in the Richmond Hill neighborhood. As he made his way from Queens to Brooklyn, Pena crashed into another vehicle at Rentar Plaza and Metropolitan Avenue.

Surveillance video shows him running a traffic light before hitting an SUV as it was turning left. He then hit another vehicle around Williamsburg as he drove into Brooklyn. Pena started back to Queens and hit 12 more vehicles before the wild ride came to an end in Middle Village.

A witness claims to have seen Pena exit the box truck and fee into the M train station. The witness said that Pena had a heavy duty wrench and a screwdriver. The police officers had the electricity turned off to the subway and pursued Pena into the tunnel, where he was apprehended and arrested.

A driver whose vehicle was struck by Pena in Richmond Hill died from injuries sustained in the accident. The victim was later identified as Hamlet Cruz-Gomze, a 25-year-old man from Brooklyn.

The police charged Pena with several crimes. The charges include grand larceny, reckless endangerment, manslaughter, fleeing the scene of an accident, and assault. Records show that Pena had two prior arrests for petit larceny in 2018 and robbery in 2019.

Destruction and Damages Caused by Stolen Vehicles

Liability for truck accidents can be confusing even when all parties are driving vehicles that they legally own. When a stolen vehicle is involved in a crash, there are questions about who is responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Will insurance pay when the vehicle was stolen?

If you are at fault for the accident, you are liable for the damages caused by the accident, even though the other vehicle was stolen. However, if the stolen vehicle is at fault, the thief is responsible for the damages caused by the accident.

In most cases, the owner of the stolen vehicle nor the insurance provider is responsible for the damages. The owner of the stolen vehicle can only be held liable under very limited circumstances, such as in cases where the owner could have reasonably foreseen that the vehicle may have been stolen.

An attorney investigates the circumstances that led to the theft of the vehicle to determine whether the vehicle owner or the insurance provider for the vehicle could be liable for damages. The terms of the policy and the circumstances surrounding the theft must be examined carefully to assess which laws apply in the case.

Filing Claims Against Your Insurance Coverage

Because the thief is responsible, accident victims may have difficultly recovering compensation or the accident. Thieves rarely have personal assets to pay the damages, nor does the thief have insurance that would cover the accident.

However, accident victims may receive compensation for damages by filing claims against their insurance coverage. Depending on the types of insurance coverage the victim has for his or her vehicle, the victim may receive compensation for some damages. An attorney can review the policy to determine coverage.

Why is it Important to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accident cases involving stolen vehicles are incredibly complex. The insurance companies that have coverage for each of the vehicles are likely to deny coverage for claims based on the fact that the vehicle was stolen. However, these denials may not be legal or valid.

Sorting out who is responsible for the damages and wrongful death caused by a stolen vehicle requires knowledge of all the laws that apply in the case. The laws can be confusing, and victims may need to file lawsuits to force insurance companies and parties to accept liability for injuries and deaths caused by a stolen vehicle.

A lawyer identifies each insurance policy and the parties that could have potential liability for the claim. The attorney researches the laws that apply in the case and uses the facts of the case to determine who might have liability. Claims are filed and demands for settlement are made.

If the parties refuse to accept liability for the claim, your attorney may then proceed to file one or more lawsuits on your behalf. During this time, your lawyer can help you identify any sources of compensation that might be available to help pay for your medical care and expenses, such as no-fault insurance coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, or health insurance coverage.

You should not give up fighting for compensation for an accident caused by a stolen vehicle. However, you do need help because you may be fighting an uphill battle to recover the compensation you deserve after being hit by a stolen vehicle.