If you’re in an accident involving a rental car, you may want to know if your claim will proceed differently than in a car accident with a non-rental car. Car accidents can result in costly medical bills and lost wages from missing work, regardless of who owns the involved vehicles. You would like to pursue compensation for your injuries but aren’t sure where to turn in a rental car accident case.
You may wonder, Who is liable in an accident involving a rental car? In addition to the responsible driver and an insurance company, you may have another party to factor into your claim—the rental car company. In fact, some rental car accidents may result from negligence on behalf of the rental car company. Luckily, an experienced rental car accident lawyer, like at MG Law, can help you file a lawsuit to recover compensation for these losses.
How to Determine Who Is at Fault in a Rental Car Accident
Like in other car accidents, liability in a rental car accident typically requires proving negligence. Proving negligence requires providing evidence of four distinct elements:
- Duty of care,
- Breach of the duty of care,
- Causation, and
We discuss these elements in further detail below.
Duty of Care
Every driver owes a duty of care to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. This includes drivers of rental cars. Drivers owe this duty to other drivers on the road, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Proving a rental car driver owed you a duty of care is typically straightforward because all drivers owe others on the road a duty of care.
Breach of Duty
A driver breaches their duty of care when they fail to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. Some common ways a rental car driver may breach their duty of care include:
- Driving recklessly;
- Texting while driving;
- Taking a video while driving;
- Eating while driving;
- Using social media while driving;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
- Disobeying traffic law, signs, and signals.
Sometimes, drivers operate a rental car more recklessly than their personal vehicles because they do not care about damaging a rental. However, regardless of the vehicle, reckless driving is illegal, unjustified, and causes accidents. A rental car driver can face liability for an accident they cause from reckless driving.
Causation is the third element of a negligence claim. To prove causation, you must show the driver’s breach of duty caused the collision that led to your injury. You can do this by proving that your injuries would not have occurred if the at-fault driver had not breached their duty of care.
Lastly, you must prove you incurred damages in a car accident claim. A car accident can lead to thousands of dollars in unexpected costs you will pay out of pocket. A car accident lawsuit based on negligence is intended to compensate you for any harm you suffered because of the accident. However, if you do not have any damages related to the accident, you cannot pursue a claim.
Who Is Liable in an Accident Involving a Rental Car?
In most cases, the fact a rental car is involved in the accident has no bearing on liability. If the driver of the rental car is at fault, they will face liability for the damages incurred by the other driver. Likewise, if another driver hits the rental car, the at-fault driver is liable for the rental car driver’s damages.
In some cases, a rental car company may face liability for the accident if its negligence caused the rental car accident. The rental company is responsible for keeping the vehicle in a drivable condition while it is on their lot. The company must maintain its vehicles and provide renters with vehicles free from known defects. If a rental company supplies a defective or unmaintained vehicle, and this causes an accident, the rental car company may be liable for the injured party’s damages. Plus, if a rental car agency negligently rents a vehicle to someone without a valid driver’s license, they may face liability if the unlicensed driver causes an accident.
Determining if a rental car company is liable in your case takes a great deal of investigation and knowledge of the law. You need an attorney familiar with rental car accidents. If you believe the rental car company may be liable in your case, contact an attorney at MG Law as soon as possible.
What If You Were Partly to Blame for the Rental Car Accident?
Georgia uses comparative negligence to assign fault to the parties involved in car accidents. Under the comparative negligence rule, a court reduces your compensation based on your percentage of fault in the accident. However, a court must find that you are 49% or less at fault for you to recover compensation. You cannot recover anything if you are more than 49% at fault.
For example, let’s say the court determines that your damages amount to $500,000 but that you were 20% to blame for the crash. The court will reduce your award to $400,000. However, if a court finds you were 60% to blame, you will not recover anything. Contact a lawyer today if you are concerned about comparative negligence in your case.
Do You Have Questions About Rental Car Accident Liability in Georgia? Contact MG Law Today
Insurance companies use a variety of predatory tactics to pay out as little as possible to car accident victims. After your rental car accident, an insurance representative may contact you to offer you a settlement that is significantly less than what you deserve. The qualified attorneys at MG Law can help. We can review your damages and determine the fair value of your accident claim. We can also negotiate with the insurance company to ensure your settlement fully compensates you for your losses.
Depending on your case, our attorneys can also help by:
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence;
- Finding witnesses to the accident;
- Requesting police reports;
- Estimating the cost of your losses; and
- Preparing your case to go to trial, if necessary.
MG Law has experience advocating for people injured in rental car accidents. Our founding attorney, Michael Geoffroy, built our firm because of his desire to fight for victims injured by another person’s negligence. Contact us today.