Zipcar is a service that allows people living throughout the city to drive whenever they need to without having to purchase their own vehicles. Cars can be reserved for just a couple hours or rented for the day. While this allows users to select different vehicles for their needs without any commitment, it creates many questions over liability. Who is liable in a Zipcar accident and what are your rights?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has been helping clients recover compensation for their injuries throughout Chicago for a long time. Our experienced Chicago car accident attorneys can help you answer these questions and determine how to move forward with your case.
Problems Associated With Zipcar
The following must be considered about Zipcar and the type of services it offers its customers.
- This service is tailored to people who only drive on occasion. It is well known that having more experience makes you better at anything you do. This is the same for drivers. Since Zipcar serves those who do not drive very often, it is more likely that its customers may not be as skilled as drivers who drive on a regular basis.
- Those not familiar with their vehicles are at an even greater disadvantage. Since people using this service move from car to car, they are constantly adjusting to the feel and features of different cars. This can be distracting.
- Zipcar determines its insurance caps. The company currently offers drivers insurance on the vehicles they drive, but the liability coverage provided is capped at $300,000 per accident. Drivers under the age of 21 are insured at an even lower cap.
- Younger drivers receive the state minimum coverage. Zipcar has implemented this policy to reduce its overhead at the expense of those its younger drivers may injure in an accident.
- Drivers have no idea whether the vehicles they are driving are safe. While Zipcar is in control of maintaining and inspecting its fleet of cars, it is easy for large companies to cut corners. It is also possible for drivers not to report problems they have with their vehicles. This all makes it feasible that a driver could get into a collision because the brakes, steering or other critical systems are in disrepair.
The largest problem people find with Zipcar is its limited insurance coverage for younger drivers. While $300,000 is not enough to cover catastrophic injuries, it is sufficient in most cases. Drivers under the age of 21 will have bare minimums and this can make pursuing compensation after an accident difficult.
How Do I Pursue a Case With a Zipcar Driver?
Unless there was a problem with the vehicle, your claim would be filed against the driver. Zipcar’s insurance company would represent the individual and choose to negotiate a settlement or take the issue to court. There isn’t any real difference in how you would pursue this type of claim compared to how you would any other lawsuit.
There is one caveat. If you can prove that Zipcar is responsible for the accident, you are able to file a lawsuit against the company for damages. You would need to prove that a mechanical defect or poor maintenance procedures were responsible for the accident. It is pretty clear that Zipcar is aware of the risk by the fact that the company announced it took out an insurance policy that covers up to $5 million per accident if the company is ever found liable.
The following are some mechanical problems that could be responsible for an accident.
- Failing brakes. Few things are worse than needing to stop and finding out that you are unable to. The drivers in these situations should not need to assume liability for Zipcar’s failure to provide safe vehicles to drive.
- Poor tires. Whether it is over-worn tread or a tire blowout, Zipcar should be held liable if one of its vehicles’ tires are not up to par. During rainy or snowy conditions, the tread on a vehicle’s tires makes all the difference in stopping ability.
- Broken turn signals or taillights. The inability to signal may lead the driver to believe others on the road know his or her intentions when this is not true. Without the ability to warn other drivers that you are stopping or turning, it is more likely you will be involved in an accident.
What are my Rights if I am Driving a Zipcar?
Before you get behind the wheel of a company’s vehicle, it is advisable to understand your rights. Zipcar provides insurance to its drivers, but they are still required to meet a deductible if they are found liable for an accident. Zipcar will also try to defer as much liability onto drivers as possible to avoid absorbing financial liability.
If you are in a car accident that is the result of poor vehicle maintenance, you may also be able to seek damages against Zipcar. You can seek the cost of your own medical expenses, time off of work, pain and suffering and more.
Contact Us for a Free Case Review
If you have been in a Zipcar accident, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help. Our team of award-winning Chicago car accident attorneys has the experience and resources you need to give your case its best chance. We will do whatever it takes to determine the exact cause of your accident so that we know how to collect the maximum amount of compensation the law will allow.
Contact us today to review your case without any risk or obligation. Our Chicago auto injury lawyers will answer your questions and review your legal options with you so that you can make an educated decision on how to move forward. If we are unable to secure compensation for you, we guarantee our services will be free of charge.