Can a car rental agency be liable for renting a car to an uninsured person who totaled the rental and caused $16,730 damage to mine?

Asked on December 9, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Car rental agenices are not responsible for or obligated to verify insurance information, so the agency is not liable if the person lied to them.
You do have the right to sue her for the money, even if she is not insured; if she has a job and doesn't pay voluntarily (assuming you win the lawsuit--i.e. you show that she was at fault in causing the accident), you could potentially garnish her wages. Or if owns any real estate, you could, after the lawsuit, put a lien on it; or if she has personal property (e.g. a vehicle) or money in bank, you could possibly get it. Just because she does not have insurance does not mean you can't sue her or that she would not have to pay--as long as she has either an income or assets, there is a reasonable chance you will get some or all of what you sue for, though it may take extra time and effort if you have to go through collections efforts, like wage garnishment.
The mother being in the car does not make the mother or her mother's insurer liable.

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