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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1

    Default Rental Car's Brake Failure Leads to Third Party Damage

    Hi, I would appreciate any help with this issue.

    Two weeks ago, I rented a car from a famous car-sharing rental car company to pick up some stuff from outside the city. I drove back to the residential condominium building where I am a tenant. I drove up to the driveway at the back of the building which led down to the garage door. I parked there, downhill, in front of the door, to take the stuff that I picked up outside of the car. I took it out of the car, which was still running, and I put it to the side.

    I then got back into the car to back out of the driveway. When I put the car on Reverse, the engine stopped working and the car started rolling forward. The electronic brakes didn't respond and within 2 seconds the car had hit the garage door. The engine had completely died, and the car wouldn't turn on again until I called the rental company to reactivate it. The rental company's insurance company has agreed to pay for the garage door repairs, but is refusing to pay the building for associated costs, related to 'hiring staff to man the door until it is fixed'. These costs could run up to more than 3 thousand dollars. The car company has so far not acknowledged that their car was at fault. Not to think what might have happened if I was parked on a hill or on a highway. There are past incidents of this happening. Both to the car rental company, and with the brand of car that I was driving (the car company recently called back 300,000 of this model).

    In my biased opinion, the rental company is obviously responsible. Their system has a problem which could have led to a serious accident. The car's anti-theft alarm system likely de-activated the car's engine, including the electronic brakes, leading to the incident. The building is now threatening to pursue me for the $3.5k in staffing fees. I have been driving for 8 years and never had an accident. I never pressed brakes that didn't immediately work. There is video of the incident showing me struggling to brake for the two seconds before the car rolled into the door. The building has opted to hire someone and threaten me with legal fees, without a special assessment, or without even attempting to put a sign that says that no entry is allowed, and that there is a camera. What should I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,663

    Default Re: Rental Car's Brake Failure Leads to Third Party Damage

    Quote Quoting biaconero
    View Post
    The rental company's insurance company has agreed to pay for the garage door repairs, but is refusing to pay the building for associated costs, related to 'hiring staff to man the door until it is fixed'. These costs could run up to more than 3 thousand dollars.
    If it chooses, the building can attempt to sue the car rental company for that money.

    If they instead (or also) sue you, you can seek indemnification from the car rental company, and can also attempt to raise the unknown mechanical issues as a defense to your individual liability. If you own a vehicle, you should report the claim to your own insurer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Rental Car's Brake Failure Leads to Third Party Damage

    Quote Quoting biaconero
    View Post
    In my biased opinion, the rental company is obviously responsible.
    And I'm sure the rental company's insurer agrees. That's why it agreed to pay the cost of repairs. The issue here appears to be that the insurer doesn't believe the cost of hiring someone to "man the door" is an appropriate part of the building owner's damages.

    Quote Quoting biaconero
    View Post
    What should I do?
    You should put your own auto liability insurer on notice and demand that the rental company defend and indemnify you in the event that the building owner sues you. You might also make it clear to the building owner that you deny all liability because the accident happened because of a vehicle malfunction, not because of any negligence on your part.

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