Are Rental Companies Ever Responsible For Car Accidents?
After being involved in an accident with a driver in a rental car, there is sometimes confusion about who is responsible. Although it might seem logical that the driver is to blame, there is a possibility that the rental company shares some of the fault. If you were the victim of the car accident, here is what you need to know:
When Is the Driver to Blame?
In most instances, the driver of the rental car is to blame if he or she caused the accident. Even though the driver is not in a car that he or she owns, the rental contract he or she signed more than likely stated that the rental company would not be responsible for injuries or damages that he or she caused.
If the driver is responsible, you can file a claim with his or her car insurance. Treat the claims process just like you normally would if the driver owned the car. You can include your car damages, injuries, and other related damages that you incurred from the accident.
When Can You Sue the Rental Company?
Although the driver of the rental car is usually liable for the damages he or she caused in a car accident, there are some situations in which the rental car company might be liable. For instance, if the rental company failed to properly verify that the driver was licensed to drive the car, you could argue that the company is liable. By not verifying the driver's license, the company was negligent.
You could also claim that the rental company was liable if it failed to properly maintain its vehicles. For instance, if the company did not inspect and change the tires on a regular basis and a blowout led to the accident, you could hold the company responsible.
Can You Sue Both Parties?
In personal injury law, you do not necessarily have to choose just one party to sue. If more than one party is responsible for an accident, you can hold both parties responsible.
For instance, if the rental company failed to verify the driver's license and the driver ran a red light and smashed into your car, you could sue both parties. The court could find both parties guilty and order them to pay out the settlement together.
To learn more about whether you can file a lawsuit against the rental company, talk to your car accident lawyer.