What are our rights if someone drove out rental car without intermission and had an accident?

UPDATED: Jun 14, 2014

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What are our rights if someone drove out rental car without intermission and had an accident?

My husband rented a car for my son’s vacation. While on vacation one of his friends decided to take the rental car for a drive and damaged the rental car. She did not have insurance, and of course our personal insurance will not cover. She was not authorized or given permission to drive the car. My son had a police report filed on that day as she admitted she had driven the car. She now doesn’t want to pay for damages. Can my husband as the renter of the car sue her or her parents for damages?

Asked on June 14, 2014 under Accident Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you and your husband have to pay anything to repair the car, you can sue the friend (if she's 18 or over) or her parents (if she's a minor) to recover any amounts that you are forced to pay.

However, first, check your rental contracts to see if you agreed to be responsible for all damages--even those not normally considered to be legally your fault. In many cases, if someone takes a car without permission of the authorized drivers and damages it, that person is the one who is legally responsible for any damages, not the authorized driver. It may be that the rental car agency should be looking to her or her parents, and you, for compensatation.

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.

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