Dealing with a car accident can be a complicated matter under any circumstances. However, getting into an accident with a driver while driving a rental car only adds to that complexity. While it is possible in some cases to sue a rental car company for an accident, the driver or some other party could be at fault.
The important issue is determining whether negligence played a part in the crash. If the rental company’s negligence caused the collision, they are at fault. Proving fault can be difficult on your own, but you can seek guidance from a car accident lawyer.
When Is a Lawsuit Against the Rental Company Viable?
You cannot sue a rental car company based solely on the fact that it owns the vehicle that struck you. As with most personal injury cases, you must have a valid negligence claim against the party you intend to sue. Owning a car involved in an accident is not evidence of negligence, no matter the driver’s actions to cause the crash.
However, it is possible to bring legal action against the rental car company in some situations. Specifically, the rental company must have been negligent, which must have played a part in causing the crash. This is true despite the waivers and agreements these companies require you to sign. Negligence applies to rental companies the same as any other potential defendant.
These companies owe a duty of care in certain situations, such as when it comes to providing a safe and road-ready vehicle. If they breach this duty of care, they could be liable for your damages. There are other elements of negligence to consider. There must be causation or a direct link between the rental company’s actions and your accident. Finally, you must have suffered compensatory damages in the crash.
The most common situation where a rental car company is at fault is when they fail to maintain their fleet of vehicles. These companies must ensure a vehicle is safe and in working order. The company could face civil liability when they allow a customer to drive a car they should have known was hazardous.
To consult with an experienced car accidents lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
When Can’t I Sue a Rental Car Company?
There are also times when rental car companies are immune from responsibility in a car accident. Generally, this is the case when there is no proof the car company or one of its employees directly contributed to the cause of the crash.
In the past, it was possible to hold the rental company accountable for an accident based solely on the fact that it owned the car. This was true even in cases where the car’s driver was entirely at fault for the collision.
This changed in 2005. The U.S. government passed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, which includes the Graves Amendment (49 U.S. Code § 30106), a federal law that significantly limits the liability car insurance companies share in a collision. Under this law, states only had the option of allowing liability when the rental company’s negligence directly led to a car crash.
Other Parties Could Be Liable in a Rental Car Accident
While Florida is a no-fault state, it is important to understand that you could sometimes pursue a lawsuit against the liable party. If you suffer severe injuries from an accident, the Bogin, Munns & Munns team can lead your case to get the compensation you deserve.
Even if a lawsuit against the rental car company is not an option, other individuals or entities could be liable. Our attorneys could review your case’s facts and advise you on when legal action is appropriate. Some of those parties include the following:
The Driver Could Be At Fault
Most of the time, the other driver will be directly responsible for causing the crash. These cases are no different than if they were driving their vehicle since a successful personal injury lawsuit requires proof of negligence. However, some drivers might have additional insurance coverage through the rental company that could cover your losses.
You Could Sue the Driver’s Employer
Even if you can’t sue the rental car company, there are times when the driver’s employer might be liable. If a driver is acting within the scope of their employment, you could have a valid case against both the at-fault party and their employer.
Auto Companies Might Be Liable for an Accident
The maker of your vehicle or the rental car might also be responsible for an accident. Defective vehicle parts routinely lead to collisions, and the manufacturer is liable when they do. Pursuing legal action against the manufacturer could be possible if you can show a defect caused the crash. Our attorneys have experience taking on negligent manufacturers.
Government Entities Could Also Be Defendants
In some cases, you might have a viable case for compensation against a state or local government. These government entities must ensure to maintain roadways. They could be liable for an accident with a rental car driver when they fail to meet that duty. Unique challenges can come with suing the government that Bogin, Munns & Munns is ready to help you face.
Talk to Us About a Rental Car Accident Lawsuit – We’re Ready to Help
If you are considering taking legal action after an accident with a rental car, you could be entitled to compensation. While there are times when damages are not available from the rental company, there are also circumstances where they could be liable. We can explain when you can sue a rental car company for an accident and if these criteria apply to your situation.
The attorneys of Bogin, Munns & Munns could help you evaluate your options and determine if you have a case against a rental car company. To discuss your options and next steps, contact us right away for a free initial consultation.