Rental car companies provide a valuable service for many people. These companies were once on the hook if a driver rented a car and then was involved in an accident. The passage of the Graves Amendment in 1995 stopped that from happening in most cases. Now, people who are injured in accidents that involve rental cars can turn to insurance companies or personal injury lawsuits to seek compensation for the damages they suffered.
There are two important points that you should know regarding the Graves Amendment. First, it doesn't apply to accidents that are caused by the rental company's negligence. For example, if the accident occurred because the brakes on the vehicle weren't properly serviced, the rental car company could be responsible for the injuries that were caused in the accident if the driver of the rental car was the person who caused the accident.
Another important point is that the Graves Amendment doesn't apply if the driver of the rental car got temporary insurance from the rental car company. In that case, the insurance company that carries the temporary insurance policy could be held liable for the damages that occurred.
Typically, the driver of the rental car would have his or her own insurance coverage. If that policy has a rental car rider, that insurance company might be on the hook for the damages. It is important to know what entities to hold accountable for these damages. Once this is determined, you can move forward with the claim for compensation that can help minimize the financial impact the accident has on you.
Source: FindLaw, "The Graves Amendment and Rental Car Liability," accessed Dec. 16, 2016