Rental cars are a staple for people who travel for business and pleasure. It is a common practice to rent a vehicle when you fly into a city and intend to stay for an extended period. Unfortunately, rental car drivers are involved in accidents like any other motorist on the road. When someone sustains severe injuries in an accident involving a rented vehicle, they might wonder if they have a legal claim against the rental company. The general answer is “no.” Typically, if you are hurt in an accident, your options are limited to suing another driver or filing a claim through your insurance provider. However, rental companies offer additional insurance that you could purchase when you take control of the vehicle.
Despite the general rule, there are some rare instances where a rental company could be held liable. One such case is if the rental agency provides you a vehicle with a known defect that could lead to an accident or increase the chances of injury if you were involved in a crash.
While it is difficult to hold an Arkansas car rental agency liable for your injuries, it is not impossible. Rental companies have a duty to provide safe and mechanically sound cars to their clients. When a rental company knowingly allows a person to drive off in a defective vehicle, it could be held accountable for any injuries or damages if the defect contributes to an accident. Our Fayetteville car accident attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve, whether the rental agency or a negligent driver is to blame. Call (479) 316-0438 to talk with an experienced lawyer.
Arkansas Car Rental Company’s Duty of Care to Renters
A car rental company owes its customers a legal duty of care. This means that someone who rents a vehicle should expect to rent a safe and reliable vehicle that is free of any known defects. To comply with this duty, rental companies should conduct regular inspections and maintenance of their fleet to ensure any rented vehicles are free of potential mechanical problems or known defects. The rental company should also be aware of any manufacturer recalls. If a rental company fails to adhere to these obligations, it breaches its duty of care. If an injury occurs because of a breach of duty, our Arkansas personal injury lawyers could file a civil claim against the rental company.
Proving Negligence in an Arkansas Rental Car Accident
To win a personal injury lawsuit arising from a rental car accident, you must prove another party’s negligence caused the crash. Typically, another driver will be held liable, as most car accidents are caused by driver error. However, a defective car could also cause or contribute to an accident. If you want to hold a rental company financially liable for your injuries, you must prove that the agency was negligent.
As stated above, a rental company must rent cars that are free of known defects. The keyword in the previous sentence is “known.” If a rental agency was unaware of the defect, it could not be held liable. However, if you were allowed to drive off the lot in a car with tires that were recalled by the manufacturer, the rental company could be held accountable.
Proving knowledge is challenging. Our Arkansas rental car accident lawyers would have to conduct an extensive investigation into the company’s operation, including reviewing service logs, maintenance reports, and customer complaints. If a rental company failed to regularly inspect its vehicles or ignored a complaint from a previous renter, it could be evidence of knowledge.
The car rental company owns the vehicle it rents. This means that if a vehicle or part manufacturer recalls a car or specific part, the rental company should receive a notice of the potential hazard. If our Arkansas product liability attorneys can prove that a notice was sent and the rental company ignored the instructions to replace or repair the defective part, it could constitute negligence.
Unaddressed Mechanical Issues with an Arkansas Rental Car
Rental companies are expected to inspect and perform regular repairs and maintenance on their fleet of vehicles. Failure to conduct routine maintenance and inspection could result in dangerous defects developing. If a rental car’s maintenance history suggests that it was not routinely inspected or necessary repairs were not completed before the vehicle was rented, the company could be held liable.
Holding Other Motorists or the Rental Company Liable for an Arkansas Accident
As stated above, most accidents are caused by driver error. If you were in an accident because of a tire blowout, you might be able to hold the rental company liable if our Bella Vista car accident lawyers prove that the rental company was aware of a defect in the tire. However, what if another driver caused the accident?
The defendant in most car accident cases is the driver who caused the accident. When investigating an accident, our firm will look at all potentially liable parties, including the rental company. If a defective airbag contributed to your injuries, we will try to build a case against the at-fault driver, the vehicle manufacturer, and the car rental company.
Our Arkansas Rental Car Accident Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
Whether renting a car for business, while on vacation, or just because your car is in the shop, you have rights if you are involved in an accident. While it seems obvious to hold the at-fault driver liable, there could be other parties that contributed to your injuries. Rental companies that allow their customers to rent a vehicle with a known defect should be held responsible for any injuries or damages. If you were hurt while driving a rental car, contact our Springdale car accident lawyers at (479) 316-0438 to book a free appointment.
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