A New York Appellate Court recently upheld a juryâ€™s $21 million verdict to a 25-year old man who was rendered a paraplegic when he was struck by a vehicle while walking. The vehicle that struck the plaintiff was a rental car provided by Budget Rent-a-Car. New York has a unique law which allows plaintiffs recover against rental car companies for the negligence of their drivers. This legal concept is known as vicarious liability. The New York law is no longer valid due to federal legislation prohibiting rental car companies from being held vicariously liable. Thus, this verdict will likely be the last of its kind.
Washington does not have a vicarious liability statute like New York’s but rental insurance policies are frequently offered which supplement the driver’s ordinary coverage. Oftentimes the greatest value added by personal injury counsel is helping to maximize the available insurance coverage.