Los Angeles hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, and many rent a vehicle while visiting. As a result, a substantial percentage of auto accidents in California involve rented vehicles. Determining liability in any car accident can be challenging but particularly difficult in car accidents with rental cars. As with any car accident, proving fault is the first step in recovering compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a rental car accident, it’s important that you understand your legal rights. The attorneys at Saeedian Law Group in Los Angeles have the skills and experience necessary to pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve. We will quickly investigate your case and determine liability so we can begin pursuing damages.
Who Is Liable for Damages in a Rental Car Accident Case?
The driver, the rental car company, or another third party may be liable for the victim’s damages in rental car accidents. When you have an attorney you can trust on your side, it’s significantly easier to navigate the aftermath of a car accident you didn’t cause. If you were driving a rental vehicle and another driver injured you, your attorney can help you file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Most car accidents are caused by negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries to others on the road. The intentional disregard for the safety of others can cause devastating injuries. Whether you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s personal auto insurance policy, against the rental car company, or a negligent third party,
As the injured party, you must prove the exact cause of the accident. Saeedian Law Group will carefully investigate your case and work with auto reconstruction experts to determine the exact cause of the accident. The following types of negligence cause many rental car accidents:
- Traffic violations, including speeding
- Unsafe lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
Insurance Coverage in Rental Car Accidents
Under California law, the vehicle driver who caused the car accident is liable for the innocent party’s damages and injuries. The fact that the at-fault party was driving a rental car makes no difference when determining liability. However, due to insurance coverage issues, determining liability in accidents involving rental cars can be more complex. A driver’s insurance is typically required to reimburse the injured party’s damages. However, several different insurers and types of coverage might apply when a responsible party is driving a rental vehicle.
The at-fault driver’s personal auto insurance policy will usually be the first source of reimbursement for the injured party’s damages. If the at-fault driver purchased separate insurance coverage from the rental car company, this insurance might cover damage from the collision and other expenses. The at-fault driver’s credit card company may provide rental car insurance covering part or all of the other party’s injuries and damages.
In California, there is an added layer of complication for victims of rental car accidents. Coverage is usually not included for car rentals that originate in California. A renter might purchase additional insurance covering only the rental vehicle’s damages. In this case, the renter’s personal auto insurance policy would be the sole source of coverage for the liability damages.
Pursuing Damages from the Rental Company
In specific cases, the rental car company may be liable for injuries and damages in accidents involving one of their rental vehicles. As a rental car accident victim, you may be liable for damages if the company provided an unreasonably dangerous vehicle without informing you of the associated risks.
Suppose the rental car company knowingly or negligently rented out a defective vehicle. In this case, the victim must prove that the defect precipitated the accident that caused damages and injuries. Additionally, if the plaintiff could prove that the rental vehicle had been recalled for a safety defect but failed to fix the defect, the rental car company would be liable.
Suppose the rental car company rented one of their vehicles to a person who wasn’t authorized to drive because of a suspended driver’s license. The plaintiff can pursue a legal claim against the rental company. The experienced attorneys at Saeedian Law Group will investigate all the issues involved in your case to determine which party or parties are liable for your injuries.
What Happens if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance?
If the driver of the rental vehicle caused the accident, you have a right to pursue damages from the driver. If the driver who caused your injuries doesn’t have auto insurance, you may be able to pursue a claim through the rental car company’s insurance. However, rental car coverage may be limited or non-existent. Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be your best option for obtaining compensation. Navigating the aftermath of a rental car accident can be difficult, and an attorney can help you strategize the best way to maximize the compensation you obtain for your damages.
Compensation Available in a Rental Car Accident Claim
Under California law, if another driver causes your injuries, he or she is financially responsible for the economic and non-economic damages they caused, including pain and suffering. Victims of car accidents can pursue damages for current and future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, or loss of future income due to disability.
Victims can also pursue compensation for their pain and suffering. When the at-fault driver acted in a way that showed a willful disregard for others’ safety, such as intoxicated driving, additional punitive damages may be available.
Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Rental Car Accident Attorney
At Saeedian Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience navigating complex insurance coverage issues in rental car accidents. We know how to help injured parties recover the maximum damages available for physical damage, medical expenses, lost income, and other financial losses. We represent clients in Los Angeles and Southern California in rental vehicle accidents. Contact Saeedian Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation.