AUTO ACCIDENT IN RENTAL CAR – INJURY ATTORNEYS MINNESOTA
A car accident can happen at any time, including when you are in a rental car, or if you are a passenger in a rented car. Our Minnesota auto accident lawyers are experienced in representing people injured in a rental car accident and we know the insurance issues.
RENTAL CAR COMPANY NOT RESPONSIBLE AS OWNER OF THE VEHICLE
Under Minnesota law, the owner of a vehicle is usually automatically liable for any damage or injury caused by the vehicle if someone else was driving the vehicle with the owner’s permission. In other words, if you loan your car to someone and they cause an accident, you are still responsible for the damage and any injury. However, this MN law does not apply to rental car companies because there is a federal law, called the Graves Amendment, which preempts Minnesota Law and makes it much more difficult to sue the rental car company successfully. Unless the rental car agency committed its own direct negligence, e.g. knowingly rented the car to someone who was drunk or not licensed to drive (or the rental car had a defect, like bad brakes), the rental car agency cannot be held liable for the car crash. The only exception to this is if the person who rented the car has no auto insurance of their own. In that situation, the rental car company has to provide the minimum coverage otherwise required by state law, but they still have no liability after that. If you are injured in an auto accident involving a rental vehicle in MN, you should consult with our lawyers as soon as possible because these insurance issues are complicated. A car accident lawyer will provide you with a free consultation and answer your questions regarding the rental car accident insurance issues.
RENTAL CAR AGENCY ONLY HAS TO PROVIDE MINIMUM INSURANCE – INJURED IN AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYERS
A Minnesota car rental company must provide the minimum insurance for the rental car, which is currently $30,000 of liability insurance coverage per vehicle if one person is injured in an accident, and $60,000 if more than one person is injured. However, the insurance of the driver of the rented vehicle is primary, i.e. coverage is initially paid by the insurance for the driver of the vehicle and the rental car agency only has to pay if the driver of the rented vehicle has no insurance.
Here is the full Minnesota car rental law regarding insurance:
MN CAR RENTAL INSURANCE LAW
(b) A vehicle is rented for purposes of this subdivision:
(1) if the rate for the use of the vehicle is determined on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis; or
(2) during the time that a vehicle is loaned as a replacement for a vehicle being serviced or repaired regardless of whether the customer is charged a fee for the use of the vehicle.
A vehicle is not rented for the purposes of this subdivision if the rate for the vehicle’s use is determined on a period longer than one month or if the term of the rental agreement is longer than one month. A vehicle is not rented for purposes of this subdivision if the rental agreement has a purchase or buyout option or otherwise functions as a substitute for purchase of the vehicle.
(c) The policy or certificate issued by the plan must inform the insured of the application of the plan to private passenger rental vehicles, including pickup trucks and vans as defined under section 168.002, and that the insured may not need to purchase additional coverage from the rental company.
(d) Where an insured has two or more vehicles covered by a plan or plans of reparation security containing the rented motor vehicle coverage required under paragraph (a), the insured may select the plan the insured wishes to collect from and that plan is entitled to a pro rata contribution from the other plan or plans based upon the property damage limits of liability. If the person renting the motor vehicle is also covered by the person’s employer’s insurance policy or the employer’s automobile self-insurance plan, the reparation obligor under the employer’s policy or self-insurance plan has primary responsibility to pay claims arising from use of the rented vehicle.
(e) A notice advising the insured of rental vehicle coverage must be given by the reparation obligor to each current insured with the first renewal notice after January 1, 1989. The notice must be approved by the commissioner of commerce. The commissioner may specify the form of the notice.
(f) When a motor vehicle is rented in this state, there must be attached to the rental contract a separate form containing a written notice in at least 10-point bold type, if printed, or in capital letters, if typewritten, which states:
Under Minnesota law, a personal automobile insurance policy must: (1) cover the rental of this motor vehicle against damage to the vehicle and against loss of use of the vehicle; and (2) extend the policy’s basic economic loss benefits, residual liability insurance, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages to the operation or use of a rented motor vehicle. Therefore, purchase of any collision damage waiver or similar insurance affected in this rental contract is not necessary. In addition, purchase of any additional liability insurance is not necessary if your policy was issued in Minnesota unless you wish to have coverage for liability that exceeds the amount specified in your personal automobile insurance policy.”
No collision damage waiver or other insurance offered as part of or in conjunction with a rental of a motor vehicle may be sold unless the person renting the vehicle provides a written acknowledgment that the above consumer protection notice has been read and understood.
(g) When damage to a rented vehicle is covered by a plan of reparation security as provided under paragraph (a), the rental contract must state that payment by the reparation obligor within the time limits of section 72A. 201 is acceptable, and prior payment by the renter is not required.
(h) Compensation for the loss of use of a damaged rented motor vehicle is limited to a period no longer than 14 days.
(i)(1) For purposes of this subdivision, “rented motor vehicle” means a rented vehicle described in paragraph (a), using the definition of “rented” provided in paragraph (b).
(2) Notwithstanding section 169.09, subdivision 5a, an owner of a rented motor vehicle is not vicariously liable for legal damages resulting from the operation of the rented motor vehicle in an amount greater than $100, 000 because of bodily injury to one person in any one accident and, subject to the limit for one person, $300,000 because of injury to two or more persons in any one accident, and $50,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident, if the owner of the rented motor vehicle has in effect, at the time of the accident, a policy of insurance or self-insurance, as provided in section 65B.48, subdivision 3, covering losses up to at least the amounts set forth in this paragraph. Nothing in this paragraph alters or affects the obligations of an owner of a rented motor vehicle to comply with the requirements of compulsory insurance through a policy of insurance as provided in section 65B.48, subdivision 2, or through self-insurance as provided in section 65B.48, subdivision 3, which policy of insurance or self-insurance must apply whenever the operator is not covered by a plan of reparation security as provided under paragraph (a); or with the obligations arising from section 72A.125 for products sold in conjunction with the rental of a motor vehicle. Nothing in this paragraph alters or affects liability, other than vicarious liability, of an owner of a rented motor vehicle.
(3) The dollar amounts stated in this paragraph shall be adjusted for inflation based upon the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers, known as the CPI-U, published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The dollar amounts stated in this paragraph are based upon the value of that index for July 1995, which is the reference base index for purposes of this paragraph. The dollar amounts in this paragraph shall change effective January 1 of each odd-numbered year based upon the percentage difference between the index for July of the preceding year and the reference base index, calculated to the nearest whole percentage point. The commissioner shall announce and publish, on or before September 30 of the preceding year, the changes in the dollar amounts required by this paragraph to take effect on January 1 of each odd-numbered year. The commissioner shall use the most recent revision of the July index available as of September 1. Changes in the dollar amounts must be in increments of $5,000, and no change shall be made in a dollar amount until the change in the index requires at least a $5,000 change. If the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics changes the base year upon which the CPI-U is based, the commissioner shall make the calculations necessary to convert from the old base year to the new base year. If the CPI-U is discontinued, the commissioner shall use the available index that is most similar to the CPI-U.
(j) The plan of reparation security covering the owner of a rented motor vehicle is excess of any residual liability coverage insuring an operator of a rented motor vehicle.
MN CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED IN RENTAL CAR
If you are injured in a car accident while driving a rental car or as a passenger in a rental car, call our MN attorneys to discuss your case. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are Minnesota personal injury lawyers with more than 25 years’ experience representing hundreds of car accident injury victims throughout the state. A car accident injury attorney will discuss your rental vehicle crash case with you and explain your rights. Our injury attorneys will meet with you at our office or your home. If you are injured in a rental car accident, a lawyer will meet with you to discuss your case at our offices in Minneapolis MN, St. Louis Park, Woodbury, and Edina. Our car accident injury lawyers also frequently meet with people at their homes to discuss their rented car accident cases in St. Paul MN, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Rogers, Anoka MN, Brooklyn Park, Bloomington, Apple Valley, Roseville, Maplewood, Minneapolis, and other surrounding cities in Minnesota. We also meet people at hospitals including HCMC. There is no obligation on your part, and we never charge anything unless you receive compensation.