Am I liable for putting the wrong gas in a rental vehicle that was not labeled for its gas type?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Am I liable for putting the wrong gas in a rental vehicle that was not labeled for its gas type?

My wife rented a vehicle that was a pickup truck. When we went to put gas in it, there was no indication on the gas tank or the gas gauge what type of gas it required. When we looked at the owner’s manual, most everything referred to a diesel engine. After filling the tank and breaking down a few miles down the road, we realized that the engine was not diesel. Rental company is charging us $1000 in repairs.

Asked on January 19, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are two theories under which you could be liable:

1) If the rental agreement with the car rental place stated that you are responsible for all damage that occurs while you are renting the vehicle, that agreement would be enforceable; you should double check the agreement to see what its terms were.

2) If there was no agreement, you could still potentially be liable if it was negligent, or unreasonably careless, to put diesel in the engine. The fact that the owner's manual referred to diesel engines would be a fact in your favor; but since the vast majority of light trucks are gasoline powered (one study I saw indicates that only 4-5% of light trucks are diesel), it still could be the case that it was negligent to use diesel fuel. Given those statistics (if they're accurate), if you were sued, it might be hard to persuasively argue that non-definitive references in the owner's manual made it reasonable to use diesel fuel.

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption