If an unauthorized driver gets in an accident in a rental car, who pays for damages?

UPDATED: May 11, 2012

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If an unauthorized driver gets in an accident in a rental car, who pays for damages?

I was asleep. My husband let sister drive the rental car to the store and a drunk driver hit her; there are damages to car. Who pays? She has full insurance.

Asked on May 11, 2012 under Accident Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You and your husband would be liable for violating the rental contract and allowing an unauthorized driver to drive the car. Allowing unauthorized drivers to drive rental cars makes you liable for the consequences thereof. That does not mean that the two of you would not have your own recourse; for example, it's possible that your husband's sister's insurance policy would step in, and it's worth reviewing it with her; you could also sue the drunk driver, who is almost by definition negligent and at fault, to recover any amounts which you have to pay out (or any injuries you suffered). However, you need to be aware that the rental car company may hold you liable.

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