Am I liable for any towing costs, vehicle repairs etc. if a rental cars breaks down?

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Am I liable for any towing costs, vehicle repairs etc. if a rental cars breaks down?

The wheel bearing of the car I was renting broke while I was driving on the interstate. The car pulled hard right almost causing my own fatality narrowly missing an 18-wheeler. While in considerable shock, I gave all rental information and personal information to the police on the scene. They chose a wrecking service that towed the vehicle to the nearest town. Now the rental company has to tow it to their location and wants to charge me for both tows.

Asked on October 18, 2019 under Accident Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

What does the rental agreement or contract say? If it states that you were supposed to do something else--for example, contact the rental company, so they could arrange the tow--then you would be liable for the costs, because in that case, you breached or violated the terms of the contract, and when party breaches a contract, it is liable for all costs flowing out or as a result of the breach.  Contractual terms are enforceable, so violating the contract results in liability.
If there is nothing in the contract that would require you to pay, you should not be liable: in the absence of contractually imposed liability, someone is only liable if they were negligent, or unreasonably careless, and based on what you have written, you do not appear to have been negligent.


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