Who is Liable in a Rental Car Accident?

October 28, 2022

If you get into an accident in your rental car, you would handle any claims as you would any accident involving your own vehicle. You might be worried about paying for your injuries and other damages related to the crash. In most cases, this would depend on whatever insurance coverage you have. You will likewise have to determine who should be held liable for the accident.

Who Must Cover The Damages in a Rental Car Accident?

You’re responsible for any damage to the car and injuries resulting in a rental car accident because you are the renter. But any applicable insurance policy you have can help cover the damages. On the other hand, it can be hard to determine which insurance coverage you are supposed to turn to after a rental car crash. Depending on the specific circumstances of the accident and insurance coverage you have, any of the following policies may cover your claim:

When Another Driver Caused The Rental Car Accident

If another driver was at fault for the crash, you can hold them liable for your losses. The rental car provider will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But keep in mind that the rental car provider may still charge you before the claim settles. When this happens, you will need to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, and it must reimburse the amount you paid to the rental car provider.

However, insurance providers rarely fight fair and will try to do everything possible to avoid liability and paying claimants. This is why it’s best to work with a Santa Barbara rental car accident lawyer right from the start.

Can a Rental Car Company Be Held Liable?

While most situations don’t allow car rental companies to be held liable for accidents involving their rental cars, they can be held responsible if they caused or contributed to the crash. For example, if they rented out a vehicle that they did not maintain properly. Rental car providers are legally obligated to maintain the rental cars before renting them out because a poorly maintained vehicle can cause a crash.

Likewise, renting out a faulty or defective vehicle is reckless and dangerous. A car with malfunctioning brakes will not be able to safely stop at stop signs or red lights, causing the driver to inadvertently run through a stop sign and hit another car, pedestrian, or object. If a rental car provider rents out a vehicle with a mechanical defect, it can be held liable for committing a negligent act that contributed to an accident.

Seek Legal Advice From a Skilled Santa Barbara Rental Car Accident Lawyer Now

At Bamieh & De Smeth, our seasoned Santa Barbara rental car accident lawyers will guide you through the claims process, whether filing a claim against another motorist, your own insurer, or a rental car provider. Call 805-643-5555 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with our Santa Barbara rental car accident lawyer today.