Car accidents are very common and about 1.35 million people die because of road crashes. There are also instances where the person involved in the accident is only renting the vehicle.
If you were involved in this kind of scenario and the defendant is only renting the vehicle, would you say that the fault lies with the rental companies or they have a hand on the accident as well?
Before you exempt the rental companies from the case, it is better to understand the legalities surrounding this type of road accident and who should be held liable for it.
What is the General Rule for Accidents Involving a Rental Vehicle?
Most of the time, you cannot sue the rental company after a car accident. In court, the driver will almost always be the defendant. This is the same with any normal car accident where the driver will always be at fault. The driver will have to shoulder the medical bills, cost of repair or replacement of the damaged vehicle, lost income of the other party, and more.
If you are only renting the car and you were involved in a car accident, you will be liable for everything. The same thing goes with companies and businesses that are only renting trucks and other vehicles. If the vehicle is only rented by a company, the owner of the vehicle will not be held liable if an accident occurs.
When will a Rental Company Be Liable for Car Accidents?
There are instances where a rental company will be held liable for a car accident. In the United States, there is a federal law that was passed in 2005. Graves Amendment declares that the owner of the vehicle that leases to a person will not be held liable for personal injury claims due to the use, operation, or possession of the rented vehicle.
However, there are two warnings to the Graves Amendment.
The Owner should have a Car and Truck Rental Company
The owner of the vehicle will protect the owner of the vehicle if he/she has a rental company. If the car was only rented or borrowed from a friend or family member, it means that the owner of the car and the driver has a direct relationship and the owner might be held liable for the accident.
Negligence or Criminal Wrongdoing on the Owner
If there is a problem with the vehicle and the owner still decided to rent it knowing full well what would happen, they would be held liable if the vehicle got into an accident.
However, they will only be liable if the problem of the vehicle is part of the reason why the driver got into an accident. All these issues would be investigated and a legal claim should be filed to know if the owner should be held liable or not.
Insurance Policies from Rental Companies
You have to remember that insurance policies play a very important role in getting compensation. Even if you cannot sue the rental company for the accident, you have other options to make sure that you will be compensated.
Insurance of the At-Fault Driver
The insurance of the at-fault driver would cover the accident. Even if he is only driving a rental car, the insurance is under his name so whatever car he is driving, the insurance can be used.
Insurance Sold by the Rental Company
The insurance of the rental companies can also provide liability coverage, but it is only minimal. If the rented car was paid by credit card, the credit card company will probably offer collision coverage, but it will not cover your medical bills.
Your own Insurance
If worse comes to worst, you’ll just need to use your own insurance for all the damages caused by accident.
Vehicle rental companies are protected by law and as long as the vehicles are in good working condition and they are well-maintained, they won’t be held liable if an accident related to the vehicle they rented out happens.
However, if you are involved in an accident and the at-fault driver is driving a rental vehicle, you should still include the rental companies. If you filed a legal case against the at-fault driver, the rented vehicle will also be checked to see if there are no problems with it when the accident happened.
- Your Guide to Launching a Vacation Rental Management Business
- A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Autonomous Vehicles
- What are Different Types of Car Accidents & Their Attorneys
- Types of Insurance for Your Home Business
- Important Queries Regarding Van Insurance