The Rental Car Industry

Although automobile rentals experienced a hiccup in 2020, it is an $86 billion industry and is projected to enjoy continued growth moving forward.  Unfortunately, greater numbers of rental cars on the road also means increased collisions involving rented cars.  Compounding the problem, Rental cars also experience higher rates of collision per registered vehicle than private vehicles, and those accidents often result in relatively high injury severity.  Insurance claims come into play, and proceeding under a subrogation legal theory is often imperative.  

Rathbone Group has years of experience in subrogation on behalf of rental car companies. Rental car claims proceed under both contractual and tort legal theories, and with both federal and state laws in play, we keep abreast of changing industry regulations.

Recovery from Third Parties

Third-party liability 

Rathbone Group (RG)’s understanding of contractual claims ensures a swift judgment and appropriate executions post-judgment.

RG’s tort-based subrogation recovery background provides the opportunity to pursue all tort claims simultaneously with contract claims when applicable.

In addition, in the subrogation of rental car claims, RG is adept at finding coverage when none seems to apply and identifying additional liable parties to increase the likelihood of a recovery.

Recovery from Renters

When collection attempts are not enough, litigation can be necessary to pursue a renter who has damaged a vehicle.  The expectation that a renter return a vehicle in the same condition it was rented is contractual in nature; it is imperative that a rental company have a clearly stated and well written rental agreement. Most states do not regulate this type of recovery, and courts turn to the contractual language of the rental agreement to determine the financial obligations of a tortious renter.

Additionally, rental car companies may be able to pursue loss of use damages.  Loss of use recovery is permitted in some jurisdictions and barred in others.  Unlike physical damage to a rented automobile, many states have specific laws governing loss of use for automobile rental companies.  Rathbone Group’s subrogation legal team helps car rental companies understand if this is an advantageous legal theory in a given claim.