Possible Defendants in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Determining who should be named as the defendant is vital in any personal injury lawsuit. Even in the case of an accident caused by speeding, naming the defendant may not be automatic or obvious. Virginia has a fault-based car insurance system. Victims can seek damages by directly suing the other party. But, with rental car accidents, multiple insurers may be involved. 

Driver’s Personal Car Insurance

Some policies also provide coverage for rental cars. If the driver of a rental car has such a policy, their insurer may be named as the defendant in a lawsuit. 

Credit Card Car Rental Insurance

Some credit cards offer or include car rental insurance too. Often, though, this insurance only covers damage to the rental car itself. It may not cover liability. If the rental car driver is unaware of this, they may be an uninsured driver. The credit card may not pay for injuries sustained by other people in a crash. Credit card insurance is typically secondary, only coming into effect when primary insurance is exhausted. 

Rental Car Company Insurance

When you rent a car, the car rental company may offer an insurance policy. This can include liability coverage, loss damage waiver, and personal accident insurance. If the person renting the car opted for supplemental liability coverage, the rental car company’s insurer may be named as the defendant in any legal action. 

The Car Rental Company 

Passed as a federal highway bill in 2005, the Graves Amendment states that car rental companies cannot be held vicariously responsible for injury liability. The car rental company can only be named as a defendant in a case if it was negligent itself. Factors of negligence may include failing to keep up with maintenance and repairs or renting the vehicle to someone who shouldn’t have been allowed. 

Possible Damages to Recover 

You may choose to sue the other driver after a rental car accident. In this case, you may be able to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. As part of your overall settlement, you recover expenses and damages relating to: 

  • Medical expenses, including hospital visits and medication
  • Future medical expenses from permanent disabilities or injuries 
  • Lost wages, future lost income, and paid time off
  • Property damage, like repairing or replacing a damaged car
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses relating to the rental car accident
  • Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment
  • Punitive damages 

Settlement amounts for car accident lawsuits can be substantial. We personally represented a woman who received a $180,000 settlement after she was hit in an auto accident on Route 360. She suffered multiple physical injuries and exacerbated PTSD symptoms. We strive to secure the fair justice you deserve. 

Car rental accidents can be a stressful time and you may have a lot of questions. The statute of limitations in Virginia is two years, but it’s crucial to initiate legal action right away. Our team will guide you through the whole process and fight for your rights.

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims