Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

The Graves Amendment Eliminates Vicarious Liability Of Motor Vehicle Rental Companies . . . Mostly?

“This article was originally published in the October 2016 issue of COMMUNIQUÉ, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association.”Many lawyers are unfamiliar with the 2005 Graves Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 30106(a). This federal law eliminates vicarious liability claims against vehicle rental companies based exclusively on a company’s status as the owner of the vehicle. Most direct challenges to the law have failed. But practitioners have found ways around effects of the law and may … [Read more...]

If You Don’t Buy Loss Damage Waiver Protection, You May Have To Pay To Repair The Rental Vehicle Even If the Damages Were Not Your Fault.

Elite Moving & Storage, Inc. made a practice of renting trucks from Malco Enterprises of Nevada, Inc.  One of the trucks sustained damage when Elite rolled it over.  Malco demanded that Elite pay the damage.  When it did not, Malco filed suit.Vehicle rental agreements almost universally say that the renter will be responsible for any damage done to the vehicle, even if the driver was not negligent.  Optional LDW protection waives that provision and protects the renter from having to pay … [Read more...]

Financial Responsibility Liability Coverage Provided By Rental Car Companies Is Secondary To The Driver’s Personal Coverage Based On Language In The Rental Contract

Betty Roe rented a car from Allstate Rent-A-Car.  While driving that car, she caused an accident with injuries.  She didn't buy any additional insurance coverage from the rental car company but she had her own personal auto insurance through Co-Operators Insurance Company.As you may know, NRS 482.295 requires that before rental car company can be licensed, it must demonstrate that is has auto liability coverage for each car going out the door.  The rental company can either buy insurance or … [Read more...]

Salas v. Allstate Rent-A-Car: Rental Car Companies May Need To Provide A Second Layer Of Auto Insurance Coverage

Every motor vehicle registered in Nevada must have a minimum level of liability insurance, namely, $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence and $10,000 for property damage. N.R.S. § 485.185.  The Nevada Financial Responsibility law is meant to insure that individuals who are injured in motor vehicle accidents have a source of indemnification. Hartz v. Mitchell, 107 Nev. 893, 896, 822 P.2d 667, 669 (1991).  The opinion of Alamo Rent-A-Car v. State Farm, 114 Nev. 154, 953 P2d 1074 (1998), which … [Read more...]

Do You Want Fries With That? Rental Car Insurance Options Beyond The Rental Car Desk

Just like in fast food, the rental car industry trains its sales agents to pitch an “add on” purchase at the “point of sale”.  But instead of selling French fries, the rental car agents try to sell you insurance.  This specialty insurance might include protection against damage to the rental car or supplemental insurance over and above the insurance that the renter already has.  Rent a car specific insurance offerings are sometimes called Collision Damage Waiver, Renter’s Liability Insurance or … [Read more...]