Visitor Question

Car Accident with Felon Running from the Police…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Indiana)

Here is the scenario:

Driver# 1 rents car for Driver# 2 who has license and no insurance. Driver#2 committed a felony running from the law, he ran a red light and hit us, causing seriously bodily injury. Is the car rental company not liable?

My friend and I who were in my car both had concussions, broken ribs and multiple head injuries. I had a deep 5″ cut below my knee and torn cartilage. I spent 5 months at a wound center. I had physical therapy on my right leg and surgery on my right eye (they had to cut up through my jaw to operate on the eye). My body was pretty much covered in bruises, and I had spleen and lung damage. I can’t remember what else.

The “gentleman” that hit us was out on parole and his friend rented him the car. While out he helped himself to a man’s laptop computer, stole an elderly lady’s purse, and police were called on a “suspicious looking man” report by a teller at a bank. After that the chase was on and police lost him. My friend and I encountered him at an intersection where he hit us while running through the red light! This all took place before 11am that morning.

The rental company says they have a certain amount of insurance but do not have to pay because he committed a felony while in the rental car.

Why did they let him have the car? Indiana law says you must have insurance to drive in Indiana, so what makes this case so special? Is the felon and the car rental place above the law?

The driver,”Mr.Felon” is serving time in the slammer, and has to do more time for breaking parole. He was also drunk and drugged up that nice beautiful morning!

I also think that police, attorneys, and any other VIP will not judge against the car rental place because they may lose their nice discounts. If nothing else I feel better by sitting here typing out my feelings and thank you whoever you are for listening! Yours truly, “not a happy hoosier!”

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

You should not be discouraged from considering the filing of a lawsuit against the rental company. Although it is true the actions of a felon can usually not be imputed to one who had no control or knowledge, there are exceptions.

If the rental company agent went through the normal company process, or performed “due diligence” before renting the vehicle, including verifying the insurance and checking the driver’s license of the purported driver, the company may escape liability.

If any evidence surfaces indicating the rental agent knew, or should have known something was not right about the transaction, the rental company may find themselves in a precarious legal position.

The first thing to do would be to seek out the rental agent, or agents who were involved in the transaction and see if they will tell you if there was something amiss; if for example the agent asked the person renting the car if she was going to be the only driver of the vehicle, and she acted in a manner which was suspicious. If so there may be something further to look into.

It would also be important to have access to the rental documents. You’d want to see if the signatures were correct, the correct boxes initialed, and to see if the rental documents were otherwise completed properly, or if they might indicate some inconsistency worth telling.

The second action you might consider would be filing suit against Driver #1. It is apparent she was complicit in the actions which precipitated the collision.

From the facts you present it appears Driver #1 must have known Driver #2 was going to drive the rental car.

You should also request a copy of the police report. It is a public record. It may afford you additional information which may be helpful if suit is filed.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 7, 2011

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