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What if I Am Hit by a Rental Car?

By Karnas Law Firm |

Every year, millions of people visit Arizona, especially Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. Because Arizona does not have the greatest public transportation, many visitors will rent a car as their primary method of transportation while here.

What happens if a person driving a rental car strikes you? Is it possible to receive compensation, or must you rely on your uninsured motorist policy? Our car accident lawyer at Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, provides an overview of the law below.

The At-Fault Driver is Liable for the Accident

Arizona continues to be a fault state for auto accidents, as opposed to a no-fault state like Florida. Under our rules, the person who is responsible for the accident must legally pay compensation to accident victims. This compensation should cover various losses, such as:

  • Medical bills incurred for treating your injuries
  • Damage to your car
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress caused by injuries
  • Lost income or wages when your injuries prevent you from working

The fact that someone is driving a rental car doesn’t change this foundational legal principle. As seasoned car accident lawyers, we carefully sift through all the evidence to find out who is to blame. In most cases, the driver who struck you was negligent or careless, and they are legally liable for your wreck.

You Can Make a Claim on the Driver’s Insurance

Most liability insurance follows the driver around, so whoever rented the car should be covered by the car insurance they bought for the car back home. As a result, you can make a claim on that policy if the rental driver is liable for the crash.

Remember to ask the driver for important personal information:

  • Name
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Name of their insurance company

The driver might not know the name of their insurer. Chances are, they don’t have their insurance card with them in the rental vehicle—it’s back home, in the car they own. You can follow up when they return home and request this information. That’s why it is critical to obtain a method of contacting them.

The Driver Might Have Insurance through the Rental Company

The rental company should check that anyone who rents from them is properly insured. If the person lacks insurance, then they usually need to buy insurance from the rental company before they get the keys. For this reason, you should be covered in the event of a collision.

If the driver has insurance this way, they should have insurance contact information on them or in the car. Ask for it before you leave the accident scene.

Is the Rental Company Ever Liable for an Accident?

Generally, a rental company is not liable for accidents, but there are exceptions:

The company rents to a driver who is clearly intoxicated or high.
The company rents a vehicle to someone who doesn’t have a driver’s license.
The car itself is defective because the company has failed to maintain it.

In any of these situations, the rental car company is probably negligent. It could reasonably foresee that a driver could get into a crash, so they should have been careful before renting to someone.

Suing a rental company has certain advantages. Their business liability policy is probably larger than a typical car accident policy. You are more likely to receive fair compensation for your losses if you can bring a claim against a rental company.

What if You Were Driving a Rental Car?

The same fault rules apply, regardless of who is driving the rental. You can still make a claim if someone else is responsible for the crash. If they have no insurance, you might need to make a claim on your own uninsured motorist coverage, which should also apply. Most drivers in Arizona have this insurance.

Be prepared for the rental company to question you intensely about the accident. For this reason, it’s always in your best interest to call the police after any crash. The insurance company will want to see the police report and the insurance information for the driver who struck you.

Contact Us to Find Out More

Car accidents cause thousands of injuries in Arizona each year, and visitors to the state cause more than a handful of them. You deserve fair compensation when someone else negligently causes a wreck and you end up at the hospital as a result. Please contact Karnas Law Firm. We can fully investigate your crash and identify who is at fault. We can also negotiate with the rental car company where they have liability.