Rental Car Liability
People who use rental cars are often asked to buy insurance policies when renting the car if they do not carry their own insurance that would cover them in the event of a car accident. However, the policies the rental company offers are generally geared towards compensating the rental company for damages to the car caused in the accident. In most cases, when a person rents a car, the rental car company is not responsible for personal injuries suffered in an accident involving the rental car.
Let us consider for example that driver A rents a car and drives for a short while before crashing into driver B, and driver B and his passengers suffer catastrophic injuries. Driver B and his passengers would have a cause of action against driver A, if driver A negligently caused the accident, and can file a claim to get compensation. But who would the claim be filed with? Driver A would be the first choice, and driver B could wither seek compensation from driver A personally or from driver A’s insurance company. Driver B would likely not be able to seek compensation from the rental car company.
In some situations, third parties like employers or parents can be found liable for the actions of others if they cause car accidents. A parent can be found liable for a child causing an accident, just as an employer can be found liable for an employee causing a car accident in the company car. These rules do not apply the same way with a rental car company. If a rental car company rents out a car to a customer, the rental car company does not continue to be responsible for the driver’s actions and cannot be held vicariously liable for the driver’s negligent actions, unless some exceptions apply.
If the rental car company was negligent in how they rented the car out to a driver, then the company may be found liable if the driver causes the accident. For instance, if the rental car company rents a car to a person who is obviously intoxicated at the time she rents out the car, or to a person who is underage and is not legally permitted to driver, the rental company can be found liable for any injuries caused as a result of these drivers’ negligent driving. Rental car companies can also be held liable for failing to maintain a car if the cause of the accident is mechanical failure.
Because the rental driver usually has either his personal insurance or insurance purchased through the rental car company, other injured drivers have a way to seek compensation. If the rental driver wants to further protect himself, he can make sure that he gets uninsured or underinsured auto insurance.
Contact Us for More Information
For more information on how you can seek compensation after a car accident where multiple parties may be liable, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation. If multiple parties can be found legally responsible for your injuries, it can ensure that you are fully compensated for present and future medical costs associated with injuries sustained in a car accident.