Who is Responsible for Rental Truck Accidents?
Rental trucks aren’t as large as commercial trucks, but they are much bigger than standard-sized passenger vehicles. Their size makes them more difficult to drive, but unfortunately, the law does not require drivers to go through training or obtain a special license in order to operate one of these vehicles. In fact, it is possible for anyone who is a licensed driver to rent one of these trucks. As a result, these rental trucks are involved in many accidents every year.
If you are ever injured in an accident involving a rental truck, it’s important to understand who is liable for your injuries. Here’s what victims need to know:
The Liability of Rental Truck Drivers
The driver of the rental truck could be held liable if their negligence caused the accident. For example, let’s say the rental truck driver ran a red light and crashed into your vehicle while you were driving through an intersection. In this example, the driver of the rental truck would be liable since their negligent decision to violate a traffic law directly led to the accident. Other examples of negligent behavior include distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, and reckless driving.
In most traffic accident cases, the driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating the victim for their injuries. However, it is important to note that many insurance policies do not cover rental truck accidents. If the driver’s insurance company does not cover these accidents, the driver would be personally liable for the victim’s injuries. The only exception would be drivers that chose to purchase insurance through the rental truck company. In this case, the insurance company would be responsible for paying damages.
The Liability of the Rental Company
The company that rented the truck to the driver can also be held liable under certain circumstances. Every rental truck company is legally obligated to maintain their trucks so they are safe to operate. If an accident occurs as a result of poor maintenance, the rental truck company is liable for the victim’s injuries.
The rental truck company must also ensure that they are only renting their trucks to responsible and licensed drivers. If a rental truck company rents a truck to someone who is not licensed, they could be liable if this person injures someone while driving the truck. The rental truck company can also be held liable for renting the truck out to someone who is clearly intoxicated. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are in no condition to drive, so renting a truck to them would be negligent.
The Liability of Manufacturers
It’s also possible for the manufacturer of the rental truck or the truck’s parts to be held liable for a victim’s injuries. The liability falls on the manufacturer when a defective product causes the accident. For example, let’s say the brakes on the rental truck are defective and begin malfunctioning while the driver is operating the vehicle. If the rental truck collides with another vehicle as a result of the defective brakes, the manufacturer would be liable for the victim’s injuries.
It’s important to note the difference between defective brakes and brakes in need of repair. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to create and sell brakes that work properly, but it is the rental truck company’s responsibility to maintain the brakes and make necessary repairs. If the brakes give out because they were in desperate need of repair, the truck company is to blame, not the manufacturer. But, if the brakes give out as a result of a production defect, it is the manufacturer’s fault.
Who is Liable For Injuries Sustained While Using the Rental Truck?
Many people who rent these trucks are injured before they even get on the road. For example, you can hurt yourself while lifting heavy boxes into the truck, securing the boxes in the back of the truck, unloading heavy items from the truck, or even pulling yourself up into the driver’s seat.
If you are involved in one of these rental truck accidents, you may wonder whether it is possible to hold someone accountable for your injuries. But in most cases, the rental truck company is not liable for random injuries that are sustained while you are using the truck. For instance, you cannot take legal action against the moving company if you strain your back while loading or unloading a heavy box. It is your responsibility, not the rental truck company’s, to learn how to safely lift your belongings. However, it is possible to hold the moving company liable for other injuries.
Let’s say you are using the loading ramp on the back of the truck to load your items inside the vehicle. If the loading ramp suddenly collapses, the moving truck company could be held liable for failing to maintain their trucks. The moving company can also be held liable if they fail to warn you about certain dangers you may encounter while using the truck.
Determining liability in a rental truck accident is rather complicated. The general rule of thumb is the party that is held liable is the one whose negligence directly led to your injuries. But, it’s not always clear who was negligent, if anyone, in a rental truck accident. For this reason, it is best to seek legal representation from a truck accident attorney instead of trying to answer these questions on your own.
Have you been seriously injured in a rental truck accident? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our personal injury attorneys will immediately begin investigating the circumstances to determine who is at fault for the accident. Then, we will work tirelessly to recover as much compensation as possible for your injuries.