Resolving truck accidents can be a complicated matter because several parties may be to blame for the accident — Los Angeles is a comparative fault city, after all. Moreover, the parties involved may have acquired serious injuries, substantial medical debt, damaged property, and emotional trauma.
The situation becomes even more complex if one of the vehicles involved is a rental car. There are insurance coverage issues, not to mention the rental company might be liable for the accident. The parties involved, therefore, need a truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles who’ll help them navigate this difficult legal matter.
Haffner Law explores how the rental nature of a car plays into the legal aspects of the accident and compensation claims.
Determining Who’s at Fault
California’s comparative fault rule states the multiple parties can share the blame for the accident. This rule holds even if one of the cars is rented.
For instance, the driver of the rental car may be found 20% responsible for the accident, while the truck driver would be accountable for the remaining 80%. So, if the driver of the rental car is injured, he or she can still recover damages, even if he or she is partly to blame. Twenty percent will simply be deducted from his or her compensation.
If one of the drivers is found 100% accountable for the accident, then he or she will be liable for the innocent party’s damages and injuries, even though one of them is driving a rental car.
Evaluating the Insurance Coverage
If the driver of the rental car is the innocent party, then he or she will be awarded compensation for the accident. If, however, the driver is at-fault, there are certain types of insurance coverage that may apply, like the driver’s:
- Personal Auto Insurance Policy – This is the first coverage that will be depleted for the compensation of the innocent party.
- Additional Insurance – Most rental companies require clients to purchase extra insurance, which can be a source for the reimbursement of the innocent party.
- Credit Card Company – Some credit card companies offer insurance when used for a rental car. The at-fault driver can check if this covers the damages for another party.
We stress that drivers shouldn’t speak to their insurance companies by themselves. Often, insurance providers contact victims and offer unfair settlements. Worse, some mislead victims to make statements that can be used against them when determining who’s at fault.
The best recourse is to have an attorney speak with the insurance company. The driver would have the peace of mind that a legal professional works toward getting fair compensation.
Determining if the Rental Car Company Is Liable
In a few cases, the rental company is liable for the accident. It’s the businesses’ responsibility to keep their rental vehicles in good working condition and conduct repairs as soon as they spot problems. Moreover, they have to inspect the cars thoroughly before they rent them to clients.
The rental company could be blamed for the accident if:
- They hired unqualified technicians to fix and look after the car, which resulted in defects that caused the accident.
- They used low-quality replacements, which resulted in vehicle defects that caused the accident.
- They knowingly or negligently rented out a defective vehicle, which caused the accident.
- They rented the car to a person with a suspended license and, therefore, someone who isn’t authorized to drive.
Due to the complex nature of rental car accidents, you need a lawyer who will help you understand and resolve this legal matter. If you’re involved in a rental car and truck accident, get in touch with Haffner Law today.
(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)