If you are a victim of a rental car accident in Nevada, you can file negligence lawsuits against the driver as well as the rental car company. Even if you were partly to blame, you are still eligible for a payout as long as you were no more than 50% at fault.
The most important thing you can do after a rental car crash is never admit fault or negotiate with a car insurance company without an attorney. Having an experienced lawyer can greatly increase your chances of getting a large settlement that covers all your expenses and more.
In this article, our Nevada personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about rental car accident law in Nevada:
- 1. Your grounds to sue
- 2. Your settlement
- 3. Whom you can sue
- 4. Whose insurance pays
- 5. If you are partly to blame
- 6. Deadline to sue
- Additional resources
Also see our related article on Las Vegas car accidents.
If you are injured by a rental car in Nevada, you can file a lawsuit against the guilty party (or parties) for negligence. Negligence has four elements, and you have to prove all of them in order to win the case:
- The defendant(s) owed you a duty of care;
- The defendant(s) breached this duty;
- This breach caused your 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 by renting cars to underage drivers or failing to maintain the vehicles properly. If the car is defective, it may be possible for you to bring a strict liability suit against the manufacturer.2
See our related article, 10 critical steps to take after a car accident in Nevada.
If you were injured by a rental car, you 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, 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 their job, then they are liable for up to $100,000 in compensatory damages.3
- $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
Potential defendants under Nevada rental car accident law include:
- The driver of the rental car, who should have their own car insurance policy;
- The drivers of any other cars involved in the accident (in cases of multi-car crashes);
- The rental car company;
- The rental car manufacturer or parts manufacturer, if the car had a defect; and/or
- The city or road construction company, if poor roads or signage contributed to the crash.
Obviously if your rental car was hit by another car, then you could sue that other driver.
3.1. Rental car companies in Nevada
Currently, the following rental car companies operate in Nevada:
If you get hit by a rental car, both the rental car driver and the rental car company are jointly and severally liable for your damages. That means they are both responsible for paying you for your damages.
In Nevada however, the rental car driver’s insurance must pay you first. Then if your damages exceed the rental car driver’s policy limits (or if the rental car driver is uninsured), the rental car company’s insurance will kick in.
Like individual drivers, rental car companies must carry the mandatory minimum insurance for each vehicle:
- $25,000 for bodily injury/death of one person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury/death of two or more people in an accident; and
- $20,000 for property damage in an accident.5
If you purchased rental car reimbursement insurance, you should be able to rent a car for free (within your policy limit) while your car is in the shop for repairs.
If you are at fault
In the event you are driving a rental car and cause an accident, your personal car insurance policy would pay first. If it does not cover the victim’s damages, then the rental car company’s policy would kick in.
Note that if you rented the car with a credit card, you may have automatic rental car insurance coverage through the credit card, so be sure to check. Plus if you bought supplemental coverage when you rented the car, your own injuries could be covered.
Under Nevada law, courts can award you damages for a rental car accident as long as you were 50% or less to blame. Your final payout would just be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault.8
Example: A rental car driver crashes into you, causing you $10,000 worth of damages. The court finds you 50% to blame because you were texting while driving. Therefore, the court can award you 50% of your damages ($5,000).
As with any automobile accident case, typical evidence that comes into play includes
- surveillance video,
- weather reports,
- road conditions,
- medical records,
- GPS records, and
- photos that the drivers or other bystanders may have taken of the damage.
Learn more about Nevada’s modified comparative fault laws.
There is a two (2) year statute of limitations in Nevada to bring rental car injury lawsuits. Once the statute of limitations passes, you can no longer recover damages.9
For travel alternatives to rental cars in Nevada, refer to the following:
- Las Vegas Monorail – A quick and easy way to travel between the SAHARA Las Vegas Station and the MGM Grand Station.
- Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada – Bus system in Clark County, Nevada (which includes Las Vegas).
- Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) Washoe – Bus system in Washoe County, Nevada (which includes Reno).
- Taxicab Company Contact Information – List of licensed taxi cab companies by the Department of Business and Industry Nevada Taxicab Authority.
- Getting Around Las Vegas – Overview of options by visitlasvegas.com.
- 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.
- Alamo Rent-A-Car v. State Farm (1998) 114 Nev. 154.
- NRS 482.295. NRS 482.305.
- NRS 41.141.
- NRS 11.190.