Rental car companies are liable for accidents, injuries, and wrongful deaths caused by known defects that they did not repair prior to renting the vehicle to clients. This includes vehicles that have been recalled and those which require immediate attention due to known defects.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST) went into effect on June 1, 2016. Under the law, fleet operators, rental agencies, or automobile dealers whose fleets have more than 35 vehicles are prohibited from renting vehicles that are under recall and which have not been repaired.
It is a significant problem and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as many as 30% of recalled vehicles are not repaired. Companies that do not adhere to the new regulation can be subject to fines and other penalties for noncompliance. Further, under the law, the cap on civil penalties has been raised to $105 million. Under the new law, the authority of the NHTSA to initiate a recall has also been enhanced.
In addition to penalties against companies that rent automobiles, the FAST Act also increases fines against vehicle manufacturers who fail to recall vehicles when safety defects become apparent. Whether the recall covers minor issues such as windshield cleaning systems or major issues such as Takata airbags or defective brakes, companies are required to maintain compliance with the law.
Liability for Injuries and Wrongful Deaths
Automobile manufacturers and companies that rent automobiles can be held liable for negligent actions that cause an accident. The manufacturer can be held liable for design defects and substandard construction that makes the vehicle unsafe to operate. They can also be held liable for failing to recall a vehicle once a defect becomes apparent, and they can be held liable for substandard repairs that fail to correct the underlying safety issue.
Automobile rental agencies, car dealers, and others who rent an automobile can be held liable for failing to submit a recalled vehicle for repairs prior to renting the vehicle to consumers. Las Vegas car accident attorneys can pursue claims for damage to property, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and other damages suffered in a crash caused by a recalled vehicle.