Renting a Car, Know Your Rights

You are on vacation, and like most people you rent a car. As part of the rental process, you show the agent at the counter your driver’s license. You are asked, “are there going to be any other drivers of the vehicle?” and you say “no, just me” before leaving with the car. The question you should be asking is: if you are renting a car, do you know your rights?

Now let’s say you are traveling with a spouse, a friend, a significant other, or any other properly licensed driver, and they ask you if they can take the car just to “pick something up; they’ll be right back”.

Sound familiar?

Now let’s say that the unregistered driver of the rental car gets into an accident and causes damage to a third party or to the car you rented, which you know would be completely covered if you were the driver.

The insurance company now tells you that you are personally responsible for the damages to the car and/or third party because you let “an unauthorized” person driver operate the rented car.

DON’T FALL FOR THAT LINE! Under New York State Law, you are protected.

New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) section 370 requires rental car companies to provide insurance for their vehicles, including minimum liability coverage for bodily injury. The VTL further requires that such insurance “insure to the benefit” of the permissive user of the vehicle.

The New York State Court of Appeals held in MVAIC v Continental Nat’l. Am. Group Co. that where the lessee of a rental vehicle PERMITS another person to operate it, the rental company is deemed to have constructively consented to such use, and here is the important part, folks, that is EVEN WHERE THE LEASE VIOLATED THE RENTAL AGREEMENT BY ENTRUSTING THE RENTAL CAR TO ANOTHER.

In following the lead of the Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the State of New York, stated in Lancer Ins. Co. v Republic Franklin Ins Co., the fact the lessee was the only individual expressly authorized to operate the rental car in the case does not make the driver a non-permissive.

Know your rights? Do not assume the insurance company of the rental car company is protecting you or your rights.

For any further questions, or any other issues, please contact us at 631-622-2080 and please like us on Facebookfor more great law insight.

 

“Renting a Car, Know Your Rights” was written by Michael B. Schulman, Managing Attorney.

A DUI Is Not a DIY: Save Money and Hassle Using an Attorney

Take the Do-It-Yourself out of the equation when dealing with something as complex as a DUI charge. When a pipe breaks in your house, you call a plumber. When your computer crashes (and the blue screen of death appears), you call the IT expert. When you find termites, you call an exterminator as soon as possible. You do this because these are problems that you know you can’t handle by yourself and you need the help of a professional. So why would anyone think they could handle something as serious and involved as a DUI without the expertise of an attorney?

Too many people across New York proceed without an attorney in Driving Under the Influence cases each year. They do not think that it is worth it to retain an attorney to help them, when an experienced law firm can save them money and a lot of aggravation. DIY personalities are playing Russian Roulette with their future, or do not fully grasp the magnitude of the penalties for drinking and driving.

Even a person who is arrested for DUI for the first time in New York, with just over the minimum Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.08, faces extraordinarily harsh penalties; these could include up to fifteen days in jail, mandatory license suspension, a minimum $250 annual assessment fine, and a minimum total of $750 in fines over 3 years, and possibly hundreds of dollars more.

The penalties only increase if you have been previously arrested for DUI or have a BAC over 0.18. Anyone in New York with a BAC over 0.18 can be charged with Aggravated DUI and face up to one year in jail, license revocation for a year, a $250 annual assessment fine, for a minimum total of $750 in fines over 3 years, and the possibility of thousands of dollars in additional fines.

These are not consequences to be taken lightly. A DUI is a very serious violation that requires the assistance of a professional to help fight these charges and minimize the damage. The same way you would call for help with the flood, or the computer crash, or termites, you need to retain a qualified attorney to navigate the maze of the judicial system in New York and protect your rights.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in New York, do not delay in retaining an attorney. This is not a “Do It Yourself” situation.

 

“A DUI Is Not a DIY: Save Money and Hassle Using an Attorney” Was Written by Michael B. Schulman, Managing Attorney.