Recent accidents, recalls prompt concerns over rental car safety

February 21st, 2012 - by DKRPA

When personal injury lawsuits are mentioned, many of them are centered on a car accident. The case has an at-fault party whose actions caused physical harm to another driver, and that victim is seeking justice in the form of financial compensation. The award in the case reflects one of many factors that the victim experienced, and may cover things such as pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of enjoyment of life or medical bills.

Sometimes these car accidents involve rental cars and other times they can have serious and crippling injuries. Sadly for one woman in California who was victimized in a car accident, her personal injury suit involved both and it calls attention to the lack of oversight car rental companies have to keep their vehicles in good condition.

She rented a Ford SUV from Enterprise in 2003 and suffered “severe and permanent” injuries to her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed and “disabled for life,” because the vehicle rolled over. Her suit claims that Ford and Enterprise – in a money-saving move – did not put in an optional control feature that could have prevented such a rollover.

Few details were released about the personal injury suit, but the question that comes into play here is product liability on the part of car companies and car rental agencies, and how that can physically affect a renter.

Rental agencies may buy whatever cars they want with whatever safety packages they want so long as the vehicles they offer meet federal safety regulations, says the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

“If rental car companies cared about the safety of their customers, they would make sure their vehicles are at least as safe as what their customers are already driving,” she said. “Instead, they are defending their right to cut corners and order vehicles that are missing basic, common safety equipment that has been proven to greatly reduce the risk of death or injury in a crash.”

Currently, there are multiple proposals to increase the regulations on car rental agencies and what vehicles they can offer, given the operating condition of the vehicle.

Source: USA Today, “Safety advocates: Rental car recalls should be regulated,” Gary Stoller, Feb. 21, 2012

Tags: car accidents, personal injury, spinal cord injuries, traffic safety

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