Rental Car Accidents
If you were injured in a rental car accident, you may be concerned about who can compensate you for your injuries. It is extremely rare for rental car companies to be held responsible for damages after a rental car accident. However, often personal insurance or the insurance policy purchased through the rental car company will be triggered by an accident, and the insurance will cover associated costs. The experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck can assess your claim if you have been injured in a collision involving a rental car.Establishing Negligence After a Rental Car Accident
For a rental agency to be held liable after a car accident, the driver cannot be at fault for the accident in any manner. Personal auto insurance or the policy purchased through the company that rented the car out typically usually covers the costs following a collision.
In a rental car accident with an at-fault rental car driver who has insurance, to establish liability you would likely need to prove the driver's negligence, which means you would need to show: (1) the other driver owed you a duty, (2) the other driver breached that duty, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. The breach of duty may involve texting while driving, distracted driving, failure to yield, weaving, tailgating, aggressively driving, driving while fatigued, or speeding.
Often the at-fault driver will argue that you were comparatively negligent, and in that case, he or she will need to show that your breach of duty caused some of your injuries. The jury will determine damages and assign a percentage of fault to both the other driver and you. Your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your proportion of fault.
Often renters are supposed to buy additional insurance or sign a collision waiver when renting a car. But sometimes a rental car driver is not insured, in which case you might be wondering if you can hold the rental car company liable. In most cases, you can't hold the rental car company legally responsible because customers that rent cars aren't employees of those companies.Holding Rental Car Companies Liable
However, there are some situations in which rental car companies can be held liable after car accidents involving their vehicles, and an experienced injury lawyer can assess your case to determine if this may be possible in your situation. For example, these companies can be held accountable for engaging in unsafe procedures, such as failing to verify, as required by law, that renters have valid driver's licenses. When a rental car company knows a customer isn't licensed, the company can be held accountable if the customer later causes a collision. Further, under Illinois law, you can hold a rental car company liable for negligently entrusting a vehicle to a customer. Negligent entrustment of a vehicle is “where that person entrusts the vehicle to one whose incompetence, inexperience, or recklessness is known or should have been known by the entrustor of the vehicle.”Attorneys Helping Chicago Area Residents After Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a rental car accident in Chicago, the injury lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck may be able to help you recover damages. We represent clients in communities including Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, Rockford, and Springfield, as well as Cook, Adams, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. Please call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.