If you’re involved in an accident with a rental car, the laws are complicated, so unless you hire a highly skilled rental car accident lawyer, you’re not likely to get everything you’re entitled to. That’s why it’s important to hire the best Orange County rental car accident lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a rental car. The Crocket Law Group is the top personal injury law firm in Orange County, with an experienced team of attorneys that have successfully collected large amounts of compensation for accident victims. Call (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free consultation.
Over fifty million tourists descend on Orange County each year to enjoy the beautiful beaches, national parks, and recreational opportunities. Most of these visitors rent cars from rental car agencies like Hertz, Avis, National, and Budget. Accidents are more common for people that are unfamiliar with the roads, traffic patterns, and the vehicle they’re driving, making accidents with rental cars quite common.
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The Graves Amendment Intends To Eliminate Lawsuits Against Rental Car Companies
Prior to 2005, rental car companies could be held liable for injuries caused by the drivers of their rented vehicles based on “vicarious liability” as the owners of the vehicles. This was helpful for victims of catastrophic injuries that would not receive enough compensation through the renter’s own insurance, which might only have minimum policy limits which range from $15,000 to $50,000 throughout the country.
In California, the minimum policy limits are only $15,000. After a 2000 case in New York where a paralyzed victim was awarded $21,000,000 in compensation, Republican lawmakers began rallying around a way to end rental companies responsible for their driver’s negligence. Sam Graves, a Republican Congressman from Montana, took up the cause claiming that vicarious liability claims were costing consumers through high prices for renting cars.
What came to be known as the “Graves Amendment” (49 U.S.C. § 30106) passed by a slim margin in 2005, with the intention of completely outlawing vicarious liability for rental car companies. Victims are now largely limited to collecting compensation from the driver’s own insurance policy, but an experienced Orange County rental car accident lawyer are aware that it’s sometimes possible to collect compensation for victims from the rental car company. The Crocket Law Group is the most well-respected personal injury firm in Orange County. Call (714) 714-HURT for a free consultation.
Post-Graves Lawsuits Against Rental Car Companies
The Graves Amendment requires rental car companies to adhere to the following rules when renting vehicles:
- Renters must be 21 years old or older to rent a vehicle from a rental car company.
- Renters must have a license that’s valid for driving in the state they are renting the car.
- Renters must have their own valid insurance. They cannot just buy insurance from the rental car company.
- Vehicles must be carefully inspected and deemed free of hazards and defects between each rental customer.
If the rental car company fails intentionally, negligently, or recklessly fails to meet these requirements, they can be held liable to persons injured as a result. If a person sustains severe or catastrophic injuries from a rental car accident the best Orange County rental car accident lawyer will always try to collect damages from the rental car company by investigating whether they rented to an underage, unlicensed or uninsured driver and whether the vehicle was rented with hazards or defects.
The rental car company is required to use reasonable care. For example, if a very young-looking renter presents a driver’s license from out of state that looks suspicious, it would be prudent to check the records of that state to make sure it’s valid. There is a similar duty to make sure that insurance is in effect. If you’re looking for a rental car accident lawyer that leaves no stone unturned to collect money for you, call the Crocket Law Group at (714) 714-HURT.
What Causes Rental Car Accidents in Orange County?
The slightest inattention, such as taking your eye off the road for a second to see if your baby in the back seat is sleeping, can cause an accident. That’s why it’s important to always be mindful of the road when driving, especially in unfamiliar territory.
These are the most common causes of rental car accidents in Orange County:
- Drivers unfamiliar with the driving rules and customs;
- Inattentive driving due to use of a GPS or looking at views;
- The “vacation mentality” that inspires driving while intoxicated;
- Rental car defects such as poor braking ability or defective tires;
- Weather conditions such as fog and thunderstorms;
- Roadway defects such as potholes, broken street lights, and missing signage;
As you can see, some of the main causes of rental car accidents can give rise to liability for the rental car company. It’s also possible to collect larger amounts of compensation by investigating whether the accident was caused even partially by a roadway defect, giving rise to liability for the responsible municipality. It’s important to always remember that claims against municipalities in California must be filed within six months of the accident. There’s so much to remember and a great deal at stake. That’s why it’s important to hire the most experienced Orange County rental car lawyer that knows how to get you the largest possible amount of compensation.
What Types of Injuries Are Sustained Rental Car Accidents?
Since the lion’s share of rental car accidents are caused by driver inattention or involve drugs or alcohol, the injuries sustained are often severe or catastrophic. These are some of the common injuries people face from rental car accidents:
Broken Bones: Some simple hairline fractures heal on their own, but more serious compound fractures can require multiple surgeries and cause long-term disability.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs): When the spinal cord is dislocated or fractured, it can cause temporary or permanent loss of sensation and function from the area of the injury down. This can cause severe disabilities such as paraplegia (loss of use of the legs) and quadriplegia (loss of use of the arms and legs.)
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Even the slightest concussion requires close observation because TBI’s can cause a lifelong impairment of sensation, control of bodily functions, and cognitive ability.
Burns: Fires and explosions from car crashes can cause severe burns that require skin grafting, cause disfigurement, or are fatal.
Internal Injuries: Injuries to the internal organs can cause disability or death.
Limb Loss: Car accidents can cause traumatic amputations or such severe damage to a limb that surgical amputation is required. In some cases, it’s possible to reattach the limb, and advances in the science of prosthetics make it possible to regain function for many victims.
Soft Tissue Injuries: Some soft tissue injuries, such as torn ligaments, can require surgery and cause long-term disability. It’s often not possible to tell if a soft tissue injury is serious until months after the accident when a sprain doesn’t heal and an MRI is done.
Orange County Rental Car Accident Lawyer
The Graves Amendment that limits collecting compensation from rental car companies make collecting the full amount you’re entitled to for a rental car accident a great challenge. That’s why it’s important to hire the most experienced Orange County rental car accident lawyer, with a track record for successfully handling rental car accidents.
The Crockett Law Group has earned its reputation as the leading personal injury firm in Orange County by helping injured victims collect the money they deserve for medical costs, lost earnings, lost future earning capacity, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Having a large amount of cash at your disposal means access to state-of-the-art health care that can improve your quality of life. Plus the peace of mind you feel when you’ve hired the right attorney, allows you to relax and focus on healing. The Crockett Law Group offers free consultations for rental car accident cases. Call (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free consultation.