Florida Rental Car Accidents
Many Daytona Beach visitors rent a car during their stay to get around town. Rental cars are an economical and convenient way to move about when you are only staying for a short period of time. However, rental cars get into collisions just like any other car.
If you were struck by the driver of a rental car, there are some wrinkles you should consider as you go about trying to obtain compensation. At Bundza & Rodriguez, we can help you hold the rental driver accountable for your injuries, but you should contact us immediately.
Who Can You Hold Responsible?
You might think that you can hold the rental car company responsible for any collision. And before 1995, this was the case. However, in the mid-1990s, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Graves Amendment. This law relieves rental car companies of liability when their drivers get into accidents. Because federal law preempts state law, Florida residents can only sue rental car companies in limited circumstances.
The Graves Amendment was an unfortunate law. One reason people sued rental car companies was that drivers usually left the state soon after the accident. International visitors even left the country. It is very difficult to hold someone responsible for a crash when they are no longer in the U.S.
Unable to sue rental car companies, injured victims will need to hold the rental driver personally responsible if he or she caused the accident. This can be a tall task, especially if the driver is no longer in Florida.
When Can You Sue the Rental Car Company?
The Graves Amendment does not relieve rental car companies of all liability. You can still sue them if they:
- Failed to supervise their employees
- Failed to train their employees
- Negligently entrusted the car to a driver they should not have rented to
- Did not keep the rental car in proper condition
For example, the rental car company might have failed to check the brakes on a car, even though prior drivers had complained about the brakes squeaking. If the brakes ultimately fail, leading to an accident, then you might be able to sue the rental car company.
Does the Rental Driver Have Insurance?
Another issue that comes up in these types of accidents is whether the rental driver has sufficient insurance to pay you if you are injured. Rental car companies offer their drivers insurance, but some drivers do not get it. A driver might be able to rely on their personal auto insurance, but policies differ, especially when drivers come from out of the state or out of the country.
Some drivers might also be covered up to a certain amount under a credit card. However, not all credit cards offer this benefit, and the details of coverage vary widely. If you are a rental driver, you should contact your credit card company to check. Many credit cards offer only “secondary coverage,” meaning it kicks in only after a driver’s personal insurance coverage. Some cards also only provide coverage for damage to the rental vehicle and not injuries to other people.
Speak to a Daytona Beach Car Accident Lawyer Today
Obtaining compensation after a rental car accident is a tricky task. You should hire a lawyer experienced in this area and act fast before the at-fault driver leaves the state.