When can you hold a rental car company liable for a crash in Hawaii?

by | Nov 24, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury, Vacation Accidents

Whether you are a tourist who rented a car at the Honolulu airport, or a local resident of Hawaii, at some point you may find yourself in a car accident involving one or more rental vehicles. In the aftermath of your accident, when you are faced with medical bills, property damage, missed days of work and more, you may be wondering who you can hold responsible for your injuries. When can you name the rental car company in your lawsuit?

Determining fault

For crashes involving a rental car, just like for any other motor vehicle accident, fault matters a great deal. The court will examine evidence that both sides present before determining the percentage of fault that each party has for the accident.

When someone rents a car, they take on responsibility for potential accidents. This means that, if the driver of the rental vehicle is at fault, they will personally be liable for damages – not the rental company. In other words, any compensation awards will come from their personal insurance company, not from the rental car agency. However, there is one important exception to this rule.

When rental companies are liable

If either party to the lawsuit can successfully prove that the main cause of the crash – or a substantial factor in the crash – was a defect of the car itself, rather than the actions of the drivers, it’s possible that the rental company could be on the hook for damages.

The Graves Amendment is a piece of federal legislation that protects rental companies from liability unless it can be shown that they acted negligently. This negligence could include things such as failure to inspect the vehicle for defects or damages, failure to maintain the vehicle in working order, and failure to fix defects that they knew or should have known about.

Your car accident was no doubt devastating, and its consequences have changed your life for the worse. It may be worth exploring whether you are able to seek compensation from the car rental company in addition to the other driver after your accident.