Under Canadian law, “compensatory damages” are a monetary remedy designed to restore the plaintiff to the position he would have been in if it wasn’t for the defendant’s recklessness, negligence or foul play. If you rent a car, for example, while away for business or on a vacation, the rental car company can legally mandate that you take full financial responsibility for the damages to the rental car should you experience an accident.
This responsibility extends to if the car gets stolen as well. If someone stole the rental car, and it became damaged while the robber was driving it, or if they left it abandoned in a parking lot somewhere, you might be on the hook to pay for the damage they caused.
In the court case Enterprise Rent-A-Car Canada v. Bryan, someone stole a rental car when Bryan had left it running while he was away from it. Law enforcement officials were not able to put together step by step details of the incident, but they were able to figure out who should be reliable for the damages done to the vehicle. The person who rented the car, Bryan, did in fact sign a rental contract with Enterprise Rent-a-Car. In the agreement between Bryan and the company, Bryan accepted full financial responsibility for any theft or damage to the vehicle, and any subsequent damage that occurred to the vehicle. Even if any accessories to the car or parts were lost, stolen or negligently handled, he was on the hook to pay for damages because, when paying for the rental, Bryan added on a damage waiver.
This waiver, however, only protected him in certain situations. If he returned “the original ignition key and owners key tag” to the rental car company, as well as filed a police report within 24 hours, he could waive the damages. Additionally, the damage waiver required that he “fully cooperate with the “owner, police, and other authorities” as they responded to the crime. Bryan didn’t fully comply with these requirements, and he had to pay $32,339.06 in compensatory damages to Enterprise.
Who Pays When A Rental Car Gets Stolen?
If you rented a vehicle and someone stole it or damaged it, you could be responsible for paying out these damages – which, as we see here, can be tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, it’s crucial to always read the fine print of any contracts or waivers that you sign, especially when renting a vehicle. There could be hidden responsibilities that you have to uphold and if you fail to comply, you could be stuck paying out tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
As lawyers, there are a few key takeaways that we extract from this court case. First, always be aware of what you’re up against when dealing with big companies. Big companies like Enterprise are similar to insurance companies that we deal with after car accidents. These are big companies who have limitless legal resources, making it difficult to have your voice heard in court when you’re fighting against them.
How Does A Lawyer Help Me Stand Up Against Big Insurance Companies?
Don’t trust an insurance company to tell you how much your claim is really worth. Insurance companies want you to settle for as little as possible and are under no obligation to reveal the true value of your claim. This is one of the many reasons why you need a skilled, hard-working attorney by your side to help you stand up to these big companies.
There’s a lot on your plate in the days, weeks, and months following a car accident. The last thing you should have to deal with is the added stress of having to file a personal injury claim to protect your right to compensation. Your attorney will handle all the legwork of your personal injury accident claim, including making sure your insurance company isn’t taking advantage of you when you need help most.
Schedule A Free Car Accident Case Evaluation With McKiggan Hebert Lawyers Today
Car accidents happen every day, leaving innocent people stuck without any way of paying for their medical bills, the damage to their vehicle, and more. By filing a personal injury car accident case with McKiggan Hebert Lawyers, our attorneys help you get the compensation you deserve from the at-fault party. Part of this process is standing up to big insurance companies and demanding you get what’s owed to you.
Schedule a free consultation with McKiggan Hebert Lawyers today if you’ve been involved in a car accident in Nova Scotia.