If a resident from a care facility stole my car and it was damaged after a high speed chase, can they and/or the facility be reliable for damages?

UPDATED: May 13, 2012

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If a resident from a care facility stole my car and it was damaged after a high speed chase, can they and/or the facility be reliable for damages?

Asked on May 13, 2012 under Accident Law, Oklahoma


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Criminal charges can be brought against the resident for auto theft.

As for a separate civil case, you could file a lawsuit naming the care facility and the resident as defendants.  Your lawsuit would have separate causes of action (claims) for negligence and conversion.  The care facility would be liable for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable care facility would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm). 

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by inadequately supervising the residents to prevent them from leaving), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.

Actual cause means but for the care facility not adequately supervising the residents, would your car have been stolen?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the care facility of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Your damages would be the cost of repairs to your car.

The other cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit would be conversion which would be your claim against the resident of the care facility.  Conversion is theft.  Conversion is the intentional assumption of dominion and control over the personal property of another resulting in a substantial interference with your possessory rights without consent and without legal privilege.  In other words, the theft of your car was a substantial interference with your ownership of the car,  The substantial damaging or misuse of the car is conversion.  Your damages (the amount of monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for conversion) would be the full value of the car.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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