Rental cars prove helpful in many situations. Besides their value to vacationers, those whose vehicles are undergoing repairs may find that booking a short-term rental offers travel solutions. Driving a rental car in South Carolina does come with the same responsibilities as driving a personal vehicle, however. Anyone liable for an accident may end up facing a civil suit. The responsible party might not always be the rental car driver, though.
Insurance, liability and waivers
Anyone who rents a vehicle might check with his or her insurance provider to make sure liability and other insurance follows, such as comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and other necessary coverages. Those without a primary vehicle or insurance policy could explore options for non-owner vehicle coverage. Without insurance, the driver may be responsible for any accident claims.
The rental company might offer a damage waiver on the vehicle. A damage waiver involves paying additional money to become free of responsibility inflicted on the car. Be sure to read the insurance terms. The waiver might not remain in effect if an unauthorized driver took the wheel. Also, be aware that a damage waiver may not involve liability coverage.
Sometimes, credit card companies will cover damage to a vehicle. If so, then reviewing the car’s terms and conditions might be helpful.
Other potentially negligent parties
The person driving the rental vehicle might not be liable at all if they turn out to be the victim of a negligent driver. If another vehicle caused the damage, then the rental company may sue or seek an insurance claim against that driver. The person who rented the car might do the same if they were injured in the collision.
Alternatively, the rental company could be responsible for injuries and property damage if it allowed a poorly maintained vehicle on the road. Did the rental company fail to perform repairs or ignore a recall notice? Such actions may create legal liabilities. A third-party repair service could even end up liable in some situations, or the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for losses.
An attorney may assist with determining the responsible parties after a motor vehicle accident. The attorney may even negotiate with an insurer on a client’s behalf.