What Rental Car Companies Are Not Telling You About the Vehicles They Rent

August 27, 2012

Auto Accidents

rental car company and car accidentAn Iraq veteran was involved in a car accident in the U.S. that rendered him a quadriplegic. Two sisters in California crashed into a tractor trailer.  The car they were driving was recalled for a defective part just a month earlier, but they were unaware the part had been recalled.  Both sisters are killed in a fiery wreck.

What did these car accidents involving these three persons have in common?

The drivers were using rental cars which had been recalled, but they did not know it.  The vehicles had been rented to them by Enterprise Rental.

Consumers in Ohio and elsewhere should be warned that some rental car companies rent out vehicles that are under safety recall without bothering to have them repaired.  Unsuspecting motorists who rent such cars may become involved in car accidents.

Just ask Carol “Cally” Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacquie Houck, the two California sisters mentioned above. The young women were in their early twenties, when their rented PT Cruiser caught fire and crashed into a tractor trailer.  It is speculated that an unrepaired safety defect, a power steering hose that leaked fluid, caused the fire.

The parents of the young women filed a wrongful death lawsuit.  Enterprise admitted liability for not repairing the car before renting it.  The parents of the Houck sisters won a jury verdict due to the negligence of the rental car company.

Enterprise Rental, the nation’s largest rental car company, is owner of Alamo and National Car Rental as well as We Car and possibly others.  The company rented the car to the young women in 2004.  Eight years after the deaths of her daughters, Carol “Cally” Houck, petitions lawmakers and ordinary citizens to help her in her campaign to publicize recall information that goes unshared with rental car drivers.

New legislation introduced earlier this month (August 2012) into the U.S. House and Senate aims at ending rental car companies’ practice of renting or selling vehicles under recall. If the new law takes effect, the rental companies will be required to ground the vehicles until they are fixed.

According to The Dayton Daily News, more than 80,000 used vehicles in Ohio that were advertised for sale online in 2011 had open recalls.  Currently, it is not illegal to sell vehicles online that have defects, according to a Carfax representative.

It is possible to research open recalls online at websites such as carfax.com and nhtsa.gov—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site.  One can also check with a dealer of the brand of car advertised online, or about to be rented, to see if there are any open recalls.  You may need to supply the vehicle VIN number.

If you have been injured due to the negligence or actions of another person or company, such as a rental car company, you deserve compensation for your losses. While nothing can replace the loss of the life of someone you love, a civil remedy can help offset some of the resulting financial difficulties you may face or enable you to fight back against a powerful company as Cally Houck has done.

Do not hesitate to contact the Ohio lawyers at Slater & Zurz LLP who are experienced in handling car accident cases. For a free consultation, call 1-800-297-9191 or send a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

To learn more about car accidentstruck accidentsmotorcycle accidents and other types of accidents in Ohio, please visit slaterzurz.com

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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  1. Arrest Made in Rental Car Theft Ring Involving Maseratis and Mercedes - September 8, 2012

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