Negligent Entrustment May Result in Rental Car Company Liability for Car Accidents

In most Illinois accidents involving rental cars, the rental car companies themselves will not hold liability except in certain rare cases. Rental car companies may hold a share of the liability if the accidents resulted from the companies’ negligence in maintaining their vehicles. They may also hold some liability if they negligently entrust the vehicles to drivers that should not have been able to rent the cars, including those who are too young or those who do not have valid drivers licenses. When a rental car is involved in an accident, the analysis that may be performed by a car accident lawyer in Chicago may be more complex.

Rental Car Company Negligent Entrustment

Rental car companies are required by Illinois law to do certain things before renting vehicles to people. The companies are supposed to have minimum age requirements that they apply to all drivers. If a company rents a vehicle to a person who is younger than the established minimum driver age, then the company may hold liability if the driver then causes an accident.

Rental car companies are also mandated under the law to check and verify the driver’s licenses of prospective renters. They are supposed to look at the photographs of the licenses to see if they look like the people who are renting the cars. They are likewise supposed to check the signatures on the rental applications against the signatures on the licenses. Finally, they are supposed to check the dates that are listed on the licenses to make certain that they are not expired.

Vehicle Defects

Rental car companies may also be liable in car accident cases when the vehicles that are involved have defects that the companies knew about but failed to repair if the defects caused the accidents. For example, if a rental car as threadbare tire treads that cause a tire to blow out and the car to wreck, the company may be named as a defendant in a resulting lawsuit.

Even if a rental company is not liable for an accident, some drivers who rent cars purchase additional insurance from the companies for their rental vehicles. A car accident lawyer may be able to seek recovery from both the driver’s personal insurance company as well as the rental car insurance policy that the driver purchased. The Ankin Law Office represents injured victims in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, including those involving car accidents.