The Graves Amendment was passed in 2005, eliminating vicarious liability claims against car rental companies for injuries caused by their customers. Federal law 49 U.S.C. § 30106 states, “An owner of a motor vehicle that rents or leases the vehicle to a person shall not be liable under the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, by reason of being the owner of the vehicle, for harm to persons or property that results or arises out of the uses, operation, or possession of the vehicle during the period of the rental or lease if (1) the owner is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing vehicles; and (2) there is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner.” Simply put, this means that unless it can be proven that the car rental company has been negligent in any way contributing to the damages caused by their customer, they will not be held liable for the damages. Some common examples of a rental car companies negligence are:
1) failure to train employees properly
2) failure to supervise their workers
3) failure to keep the rental car properly maintained
4) negligently entrusting the rental car to a driver they should not have allowed to rent
The Graves Amendment is important for car renters because they are now required to hold a certain amount of insurance when renting a vehicle and will be held liable for any damages caused by them in the rented vehicle. This amendment was added as a response to many states vicarious liability laws that excluded car rental companies. States that had no limits on vicarious liability wound up with large settlements against the car rental companies. Now, car rental companies are only held liable if the company is responsible in any way, such as renting a car with faulty breaks or that fails to meet any car safety regulations.
If you have been injured by the driver of a rental vehicle, contact Darfoor Law Firm to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer concerning your rights under the Graves Amendment. If you are unclear about who is responsible for your injuries call 1-833-DARFOOR for a free consultation