Only in America. From Seattle Weekly.
George Hinnenkamp, Elderly Oregon Man, Has Car Stolen and Crashed--Is Now Being Sued by Folks Who Crashed In It
Imagine waking up to find that your beloved 1991 Thunderbird was stolen. Then picture being told, "sorry, the idiot who stole your car got wasted and wrecked it." And finally, envision being informed that "by the way, the drunk idiot who wrecked your car, his passengers are now suing you for their injuries."
Such is the reality for 89-year-old Lorane Valley man George Hinnenkamp.
As first reported by the Register-Guard, Hinnenkamp recently became aware that the man who'd stolen and wrecked his car--35-year-old Joseph Dinwiddie--unfortunately had a pair of litigious passengers in the car at the time.
Seattle Weekly tracked down Hinnenkamp by phone. A man of few words, the elderly man still said he was "shocked" by all that's happened.
"When I came home--I'd been out shopping--there were skid marks and the car was gone," Hinnenkamp says.
"I reported the car missing right away. I didn't believe it when they said he was gonna sue me."
The night of the accident Dinwiddie was driving with two other passengers--Nicole Annette Cunningham and Delano Oscar--both of whom were injured. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of those two passengers, names Dinwddie and, inexplicably, Hinnenkamp as being responsible.
This despite the fact that Dinwiddie was tried and convicted of auto theft for stealing the car in the first place.
In the lawsuit Cunningham and Oscar's attorney argues that Hinnenkamp is liable because he previously had allowed Dinwiddie to use the car, as he occasionally hired him to work odd jobs. But on the incident in question, Dinwiddie apparently had no permission to drive it, much less get hammered and crash it.
"I never told him he could take the car," Hinnenkamp swears.
Regardless, because Hinnenkamp's Thunderbird was fully insured at the time, it would seem that Cunningham and Oscar are hoping for an easy settlement from the insurance agency, as it's often cheaper for large firms to simply pay out a settlement than to take a case to court, no matter how ridiculous the case is.