When Is A Rental Car Company Responsible For A Car Accident?

Posted on: 17 August 2016


If a rental vehicle crashes into your car, it is the driver of the rental car, rather than the rental company, who is responsible for your losses. This is the situation if the driver's negligence causes them to crash into your car. However, there are a few situations in which you may hold the rental company liable for your losses. Here are a few examples of such situations:

The Accident Was Caused By a Vehicle Defect

Rental car companies have the responsibility of keeping their cars in good conditions. This includes making sure that the cars are regularly serviced, repairing or replacing damaged parts, and taking back recalled cars for service. A rental company that fails in this duty makes itself liable for all accidents caused by that failure.

For example, if a rental company issues a client with a car with defective brakes, the company becomes liable for any accident caused by the damaged brakes. If you are claiming damages against the rental company, the onus is on you to prove the link between the defective part and the accident.

The Rental Company Rented Out the Car Negligently

Apart from ensuring that they only rent out roadworthy vehicles, rental car companies are also required to carry out due diligence before letting others leave with their cars. This may include, for example, ensuring that the renter has a valid driver's license. Again, you may have a valid accident claim against a rental company that fails in this duty if the failure is linked to your accident.

Consider the example of a habitual DUI offender who has had their license revoked or suspended due to multiple offenses. A person without a driving license isn't allowed to drive any car, even a rental one. A rental company that ignores a renter's lack of license may be on the hook for any accident caused by the renter.

However, you may have to prove that the accident wouldn't have occurred otherwise. This may mean, for example, linking the reason why the license was revoked or suspended to the accident. For example, you may have a strong claim against the rental company if they rented out the car to a habitual DUI offender who then gets drunk and crashes into your car.

In short, whether or not you can hold the rental company liable for your injuries depends on what caused the crash. Expect the rental company to put up a spirited fight to lay the blame on the renter. Hire a car crash attorney or personal injury lawyer to help you prove your case.