Victims of rental car accidents in Nevada may be able to file negligence lawsuits against not only the driver but also the rental car company. If successful, injured parties can win compensatory damages to cover their:
People injured in a rental car accident may still be able to seek monetary relief even if they were partially at fault: Nevada’s comparative negligence laws allow plaintiffs to recover damages so long as they were less than 51% responsible. And if the guilty party caused the car crash on purpose, victims may be able to get sizeable punitive damages as well.
Anyone involved in a rental vehicle accident should never admit fault or negotiate with a car insurance company without an attorney. Having an experienced lawyer can greatly increase the person’s chances of getting a large settlement that covers all his/her expenses and more.
In this article, our Nevada personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about rental car accident law in Nevada, including
- statutes of limitations In Nevada, and
- 1. What can I do if I got injured by a rental car in Nevada?
- 2. What money can I get if I am injured by a rental car in Nevada?
- 3. Whom can I sue if I got injured by a rental car in Nevada?
- 4. What insurance covers rental car accidents in Nevada?
- 5. Can I still get money if I was partially at fault for my rental car accident in Nevada?
- 6. When can I sue after a rental car accident in Nevada?
Also see our related article on Las Vegas car accidents.
People injured by a rental car in Nevada can file a lawsuit against the guilty party (or parties) for negligence. Negligence has four elements, and the plaintiff (victim) has to prove all of them in order to win the case:
- The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant(s) breached this duty;
- This breach caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
- This injury resulted in damages.1
Some examples of rental car motorists being negligent include:
- Distracted or careless driving, which is common in Las Vegas where the renter is a tourist unfamiliar with the streets;
- Drowsy driving, which is also common in Las Vegas where drivers have been partying on the Strip until the early hours;
- Driving the motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DUI); and/or
Note that rental car companies can be negligent as well, such as renting cars to underage drivers or failing to maintain the vehicles properly. If the car is defective, it may be possible for the injured party to bring a strict liability suit against the manufacturer.2
People in any auto accident have a duty to exchange contact information and insurance information. Every insurance company has an emergency number to call to file an insurance claim. As with any automobile accident, rental car collisions can have devastating consequences including broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal injuries.
People injured by a rental car may be able to pursue compensatory damages for the following:
- reimbursement of doctor’s costs;
- lost wages;
- loss of future earnings;
- property damage;
- pain and suffering (capped at $350,000), and/or
- wrongful death (the deceased’s estate acts as the plaintiff)
If the guilty party is a government employee acting in the course of his/her job, then he/she is liable for up to $100,000 in compensatory damages.3
Note that rental car accident victims may be eligible for punitive damages if the guilty party intentionally or maliciously caused the rental car accident. However, Nevada puts a cap on punitive damages at:
- $300,000 (if the compensatory damages amount to less than $100,000), or
- Three times (3) the compensatory damages (if the compensatory damages amount to $100,000 or higher).4
Also note that people who deliberately contribute to a rental car crash can be charged for a crime in Nevada and face hefty prison time.
Potential defendants under Nevada rental car accident law include:
- The driver of the rental car, who should have his/her own car insurance policy;
- The rental car company; and/or
- The rental car manufacturer, if the car had a defect
Obviously if the rental car was hit by another car, the rental car driver could sue that other driver.
3.1. Rental car companies in Nevada
Currently, the following rental car companies operate in Nevada:
Depending on the case, there are three possible sources of rental car insurance coverage in Nevada:
- The driver’s own insurance company,
- The rental car company’s insurer, and/or
- Credit card companies, which often provide automatic credit card insurance when cardholders use the card to rent cars
How and when these various liability insurance policies apply turn on the circumstances of the auto accident and the fine print in the insurance contracts. Drivers with their own car insurance coverage as well as supplemental rental company’s insurance may be able to get coverage from both, especially if their personal auto insurance is insufficient to cover damages…
Nevada law mandates that rental car companies pay up to $25,000 if there is an accident and no other coverage exists. And if the injured party is not adequately compensated by the driver’s personal auto insurance policy, rental car companies have to pay up to $50,000 per accident.5
People who rent cars are advised to consult with their insurance provider agents to learn more about their policies and their options in the event of an accident, even if they already have personal accident insurance. (Note that liability coverage comprises medical expenses and damages to the other car, while collision coverage comprises damages to the policyholder’s vehicle.)
Even if a car renter already has his/her own auto insurance, it may be wise to buy the rental company’s supplemental insurance to be double covered during the rental period. The additional insurance may also lower the risk of paying a high deductible under the driver’s insurance policy.
It depends how much at fault. Under Nevada law, courts can award damages to a rental car victim as long as he/she was less than 51% to blame for the accident. As expected, courts reduce the damages amount by the percentage that the victim was at fault.6
As with any automobile accident case, typical evidence that comes into play includes surveillance video, eye-witnesses, weather reports, road conditions, medical records, GPS records, and photos that the drivers or other bystanders may have taken of the damage.
There is a two (2) year statute of limitations in Nevada to bring rental car injury lawsuits.7
Call a Nevada personal injury lawyer…
Were you injured by a rental car in Nevada? Then contact our Las Vegas rental car accident attorneys for a consult on your injury claim free of charge. We will fight for the largest money damages possible in your case, and you pay zero unless we win your case.
Also see our article, Nevada Car Accident Laws – 7 Things You Must Know, which includes information about when to file an accident report with the DMV.
- See Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (Nevada Supreme Court, 1996).
- See Valentine v. Pioneer Chlor Alkali, 109 Nev. 1107, 864 P.2d 295, 297 (1993).
- NRS 41.035.
- NRS 42.005.
- See Salas v. Allstate Rent-A-Car, Inc., 116 Nev. 1165, 14 P.3d 511 (2000); NRS 485.185.
- NRS 41.141.
- NRS 11.190.