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Who Is Responsible For Injuries When The Vehicle Is A Rental?

In a terrible reminder of the times we live in, our city was once again the scene of a grizzly terrorist attack on Tuesday. In New York City's deadliest attack since 9/11, a 29-year-old man drove a truck onto a bike path, using the truck as a weapon to kill 8 people and injure a dozen more. 

One curious detail that stuck out in the post-attack coverage was the fact that the truck he used in his act of murder was a rental from a Home Depot location in Passaic, New Jersey. 

Tuesday's incident is an extreme outlier, but people frequently use rental trucks, trailers, and other equipment to accomplish tasks such as moving heavy objects or transporting household goods during a move. This begs the question: who is responsible for injuries, deaths, and other damages involving rental vehicles such as Home Depot truck or U-Haul trailers? 

After The Accident: What You Need To Do

First, let's focus on something that doesn't change when a rental car is involved: the first priority is making sure that you and others involved in the accident are safe. If someone is hurt, call 911 immediately. Once people and the scene itself are safe, the time comes to exchange insurance information, file police reports, and follow proper post-accident protocol. 

Examining Available Insurance Coverage

In situations where the driver of the rental vehicle has purchased rental coverage, that coverage should cover property damage and medical damages. If they decided to forego that coverage, their own auto insurance is likely going to be the source of financial recovery for property damage, medical bills, lost earnings, and other damages people have suffered. 

Although people are required to have some form of insurance coverage to rent vehicles, some individuals manage to slip through the cracks. If the driver does not have any insurance coverage, it may be possible for you to tap into your own auto policy's uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you do not have that coverage, it may be possible to go after a rental company for their negligent act of allowing an uninsured individual to rent a vehicle. 

As this post demonstrates, issues of insurance coverage and liability can quickly become complicated in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. That's why it is so crucial to work with an attorney who can explain your rights and guide you toward the outcome that you deserve. 

The trial lawyers of Block O'Toole & Murphy have a proven track record of achieving favorable outcomes for people injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents in New York City and surrounding areas of New York State. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident involving a rental vehicle, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form for to arrange your free initial consultation.