What Happens If You Are Injured in an Accident with a Rental Car?

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Not every injury sustained in a car accident results in a personal injury lawsuit.  Many times, the plaintiff only decides to file a car accident lawsuit after receiving a settlement offer from the car insurance company and finding that the amount offered in the settlement is not enough to cover the plaintiff’s medical bills or lost income related to the injury.  When this happens, of course, the next step is to contact a car accident injury lawyer.

A car accident in which both drivers are driving their own cars, and both have liability insurance, is the ideal scenario.  What happens when one driver doesn’t have insurance? What happens when one of the cars in the accident is a rental car? These factors contributed to the Clayborne v. Enterprise Leasing Company of St. Louis et al. lawsuit.


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Rental car accident claims can become muddled with all the parties involved. A St. Louis car accident attorney can help you sort out the mess.

Details of the Clayborne v. Enterprise Case

In March 2013, a driver who had rented a Ford Escape from an Enterprise car rental location caused an accident by running a stop sign in St. Louis.  In the resulting collision, Darion Clayborne, the driver of the other car, was injured. The driver of the escape had liability insurance through Benchmark insurance company, but he did not purchase any additional insurance coverage from Enterprise when he rented the escape.

The resulting court case and its subsequent appeal centered around whether Enterprise was liable for paying any damages associated with the accident.  The appeals court ruled that, because Enterprise is a car rental company and not a car insurance company, it was not responsible for paying any damages related to Clayborne’s injuries.


If the Accident Was Due to Negligence, You Could Be Entitled to Compensation

Rental cars are no more and no less capable of causing accident-related injuries than other cars.  Determining liability for car accidents is a major part of what car accident companies do. What the Clayborne case shows us is that, because the driver of the Escape did not purchase insurance from Enterprise, the court could not require Enterprise to assume responsibility for accidents caused by people driving its cars.  In essence, negligence that leads to car accidents is negligence on the part of the driver, not on the part of the car.

An exception to this tenet is if the cause of the injury is a defective car, for example, if a car’s airbag fails to inflate or if the brakes fail to engage.  The car, not the driver, is the cause of the accident. In that case, you could have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. Injured motorists have won product liability lawsuits against car manufacturers for this reason.


Contact Walton Telken Foster Attorneys at Law About Car Accident Injuries

Car accident injury lawyers will work out the details of who is financially responsible for compensating you for injuries sustained in a car accident, no matter who owns the cars involved.  Contact Walton Telken Foster Attorneys at Law in the St. Louis area to discuss your case.

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