What to do if a rental vehicle was totaled but the rental company is denying the claim?

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2014

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What to do if a rental vehicle was totaled but the rental company is denying the claim?

My son was reared-ended and his vehicle is totaled. The vehicle is a rental vehicle and they are denying the claim stating breach of contract. They are saying that the person who rented the car was not who was driving vehicle. Who can I get to pay for his vehicle? Can I fight the rental company, do I go after the person who rented the vehicle or do I go after the person driving the vehicle? He was not hurt but I just got a hospital bill for what my insurance didn’t cover to get checked out after the accident.

Asked on November 2, 2014 under Accident Law, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can, of course, go after the at-fault driver who rear-ended your son, since an at-fault driver is liable for the damage and medical costs they cause--and the rear driver in a rear-ending collision is almost always at fault.

The owner of the car that was at fault, if that is a different person than the driver, may also be liable, and so could also be sued.

Any driver not at fault--such as, for example, the driver of the rental--would not be liable; fault is required for a driver to be liable.

If the rental contract was breached, such as by having someone who was not a permitted driver under the contract drive the rental car, then the rental company would most likely not be liable: they are generally not responsible if unauthorized persons drive their cars.

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