Yes. Although a car rental agency cannot be liable for personal injuries just because it owns the car, they can be held liable on the basis of negligent entrustment. In other words, if the rental agency rents a car to person who they know is unfit to drive a vehicle, they can be liable for any injuries caused by that driver.
Renting a car to the following individuals can be considered negligent entrustment:
It is also important to note that in some courts, renting to an unlicensed driver is considered “negligence per se.” This means that if a car is rented to an unlicensed driver, the rental agency is automatically considered negligent, regardless of how safe the driver appears to be.
In addition to showing that the car rental agency was negligent, it must also be shown that the agency’s negligence caused the injury.
For example, suppose agency X rents a car to under aged Y, who in the course of driving, crashes into Z at a stoplight. Z may be able to sue X for any injuries, if Z can show that the crash happened because Y was too young to understand what “yield on left turn” meant. In this case, the crash occurred because X rented a car to an inexperienced driver.
What if Y had been driving properly and the crash occurred because Z was running a red light? In this case, Z’s bad judgment caused the crash, not X’s decision to rent a car to under aged Y. Although X was still negligent in renting a car to Y, this decision had no effect on Z’s haphazard driving.
If you injured in a car crash involving a rental car, you should contact a personal injury attorney to find out if you have a claim against any rental agencies. A lawyer can help determine whether negligent entrustment is a viable claim in your case, and may even be able to reach a quick settlement with the rental agency.
Last Modified: 06-19-2018 07:26 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.