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Can I Sue a Rental Car Company for an Accident?

Home » FAQs » Can I Sue a Rental Car Company for an Accident?


You can sue a rental car company for an accident if you can prove that the company behaved negligently in some way, and that this negligence contributed to the accident. A car accident attorney can help you look for the proof you need to justify a lawsuit.

How Rental Car Companies Can Cause Accidents

Rental car accidents can happen for any number of reasons. Most cases involve negligent drivers, such as if the person who hit you was drunk or exceeding the speed limit.

There are, however, situations where the company that rented you (or the other driver) the car must take part of the blame for an accident. For instance, you can sue a rental car company for an accident if:

  • The company misrepresented the car’s condition (e.g., they told you an inspector had approved the car for use recently, but no inspector had looked at it in over a year).
  • The company allowed you to rent a car despite knowing that it had a problem (e.g., it contained a recalled part).
  • The company did not follow legal standards regarding the car’s upkeep and maintenance (e.g., they failed to have a mechanic examine the car regularly).

If the rental car company took such an action (or failed to take appropriate action), and this caused or contributed to your car accident, you can sue them for negligence.

What If There Are Multiple At-Fault Parties?

Some cases, even those that appear simple at first glance, turn out to be more complicated than you expect. For example, say that a drunk driver swerves into your path. While trying to avoid them, you swerve as well, and you end up hitting a tree due to a brake malfunction.

In a case like this, would you sue the person who drove drunk, or would you sue the rental car company for renting you a car with faulty brakes?

The answer could very well be both. If more than one party contributes to an accident, the injured person can sue them all—as long as they can find evidence linking each party to the collision. A car accident attorney can seek that evidence for you.

Suing for an Accident: Know Your Rights

When another party (whether it is an individual like a driver, or an organization like a rental car company) causes your injury, you have the right to sue them for compensation. You can protect that right by:

  • Going to the doctor as soon as possible
  • Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you
  • Saying nothing about the case to anyone who is not your doctor or your attorney

A lawyer is far more familiar with the legal process and relevant laws than your average person. It would be easier for them to handle a case against a large organization like a rental car company than it would be for you to tackle the case by yourself.

Steps for Suing a Rental Car Company

Each case is unique, so the following list may not reflect what ends up happening with your lawsuit. You may still find it helpful as a general guide of what to expect:

  • Hire a lawyer: The rental car company already has lawyers on staff to dispense with lawsuits like yours as quickly as they can. Hiring a lawyer of your own can protect your rights and ensure you do not have to do any legal work by yourself.
  • Build your casefile: You will need evidence proving the rental company’s guilt, the catastrophic nature of your own injuries, and how those injuries have changed your life.
  • Contact the at-fault party: Your lawyer can send a demand letter to the rental company’s insurer. This letter details how the accident happened, what injuries you sustained, and how much compensation you need.
  • Negotiate, if possible: In many (but not all) cases, your lawyer will try to negotiate an out-of-court settlement from the insurer. This way, you could get the money you need while avoiding a trial.
  • Go to court, if necessary: If it is not possible to avoid a trial, your lawyer can make all preparations, including submitting evidence and preparing witnesses. Then they can take the rental car company to court and speak for you in front of a judge and jury.

Pursuing Compensation Isn’t Always a Straightforward Process

Completing these steps and receiving your compensation could take a long time. Your case’s length may depend on:

  • If the insurer agrees to cooperate and negotiate in good faith
  • If the rental car company decides to dispute your allegations or make allegations against you
  • How complicated your case is (e.g., if there is more than one at-fault party)
  • The court’s current workload (if they are busy, your case may have to wait)
  • The clarity and quality of the evidence your lawyer finds

Suing a Rental Car Company for Wrongful Death

What happens if the accident victim’s injuries are so catastrophic that they pass away before they can start or complete a personal injury lawsuit? In many cases, the victim’s surviving relatives can sue on their loved one’s behalf.

Known as a wrongful death lawsuit, this type of legal action allows surviving relatives to seek compensation for:

  • Loss of the deceased’s income, if the person killed in the rental car accident was the family breadwinner
  • The cost of laying the deceased to rest
  • Your sense of grief and loss over the passing of your loved one

The types of compensation you can sue for differ, but otherwise, the process of filing a wrongful death suit is very similar to the process of suing over a personal injury.

Make sure that whichever lawyer you consult has experience with wrongful death cases: just because a law firm handles personal injuries does not necessarily mean they handle wrongful deaths as well.

Considering a Lawsuit Against a Rental Car Company?

Domingo Garcia can help you decide whether or not you can sue a rental car company for an accident. Our team knows what kinds of evidence to look for and how to present that evidence in a forceful, convincing way. Call us for a free evaluation at any time to start your personal injury or wrongful death case.

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    Meet Domingo

    Attorney Domingo Garcia has led an active civic, legal and political career. He was born in Midland, Texas and grew up in Dallas, Texas. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Texas in 1980.

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