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Kansas City ZipCar Accident Lawyer

Attorneys for People Injured in Car Accidents Involving Zipcars

Kansas City ZipCar Accident Lawyer

People who live in large cities are constantly changing to a vehicle-free lifestyle in order to save their own and help the environment. Over the years there have become a large amount of options to travel around the city without owning a vehicle. Options such as the bus, rail service, taxis, ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, electric scooters, and bikes. All of these options have advantages and disadvantages depending on the scenario the passenger is in.  One of the biggest options to emerge on the scene is the use of Zipcar. This option allows you to rent a vehicle temporarily rather than actually owning one. For example, if you needed to go to the grocery store, someone would be more likely to rent a Zipcar rather than use a scooter.

Zipcar is a company that allows people to rent cars on-demand for fractional amounts of time, whether that be a few hours or a day.  This gives people in a large city without parking space, or those that need cars infrequently, the flexibility to use a car when needed and less hassle than renting or borrowing a car.  However, when people are injured in a car accident involving Zipcars it brings up complicated issues over who is liable to the victims for damages.

Call Royce Injury Lawyers today if you have been in a car accident involving a Zipcar to find out who is liable.  Royce Injury helps clients in the Kansas City area with car accidents of all kinds, including those with Zipcars and other rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft.  Our experienced attorneys have represented hundreds of clients in the Kansas City area. Call today for a free consultation with an attorney at 855-976-9235.

Zipcar’s Damage Policy

If you are a member of Zipcar, then you are held responsible for any and all damages that have occurred while you were in possession of the vehicle. This includes any weather damage such as hail, floods, dropped tree branches, or anything else that is related to the weather. This also includes any damages done by a third party. For example, any damage that occurs upon the return of the vehicle to its reserved spot before the next driver comes and picks it up. If you reserved the vehicle and do not report any damage prior to you driving it, once your reservation starts Zipcar will automatically hold you responsible for any damages.

Zipcar will then charge you a damage fee for the vehicle that can get up to $1,000 for any damages that might have occurred to the vehicle you reserved. Zipcar has been known to charge their members the standard damage fee without alerting the member first. This can be quite a surprise for anyone that suddenly lost $1,000 from their bank account without any prior notification of it happening. If this does happen, a Zipcar member can appeal the fees. However, the process to do so can be tedious and time-consuming, winning the appeal is not always a guarantee.

If you do not want to have the risk of paying the damage fee, it is a good idea to purchase Zipcar’s damage fee waiver. This is an extra boost to help you not be liable for any damages that could happen. The damage fee waiver can be purchased monthly, annually, or per time you want to rent out a vehicle. If you decide to use a credit card that offers you rental insurance, then your insurance might even cover the cost of purchasing the damage waiver.

However, the damage fee waivers are only available to someone with a clean driving record. If you rented a Zipcar previously and had to pay a damage fee at some point within the last year, you can not purchase another damage fee waiver.

Some states require every vehicle’s insurance policy to include uninsured and underinsured coverage as well. This coverage will pay for the damages if you are hit while  driving a Zipcar by an uninsured driver or if the damages are over the limit for the negligent party’s insurance limit.

Issues with Car Accidents Involving Zipcar

Since a Zipcar car accident is not a normal accident with clear ownership and insurance there are several considerations to determine liability and damages:

  • Insurance – Since Zipcar drivers are by definition part-time drivers, there is a high chance the driver either does not have insurance or has the bare minimum insurance required to rent the car. Additionally, often Zipcar drivers may have insurance at the time they signed up for Zipcar, but since then their insurance has lapsed. If the driver does not have insurance, it makes it incredibility difficult for the victim to collect damages if the driver is an uninsured or underinsured  Zipcar has policies on the amount of insurance a driver has to have and also provides drivers with insurance, but the damages are capped at $300,000 which is below the common liability amount for most drivers at $500,000, creating a possible $200,000 recovery shortfall.  Additionally, unlike car rentals that generally ensure drivers are 25 or over, Zipcar has no age limit and those under the age of 21 have an insurance coverage lower than $300,000.  These issues can lead to victims potentially recovering less than they would have in an accident not involving a Zipcar and having to sue Zipcar the company to make up the difference.
  • Driving Experience – Zipcar drivers are often younger than the average driver on the road. Drivers under 20 account for 5.4% of drivers but over 8% of accidents. Additionally, driving is a skill that like all skills must be used to stay sharpened. Part-time drivers are not going to be as good of drivers as someone who drivers daily. Younger part-time drivers create a situation with Zipcar where there is a higher probability of Zipcar’s getting into accidents.
  • Car Familiarity – Each time a driver rents a Zipcar they could get a different kind of car. Each car has its own blind spots, features, and distractions. A driver getting used to a car creates a situation where accidents are more likely to occur.
  • Car Condition – Drivers using a Zipcar have no idea of the condition of the car. Are the breaks working correctly, was the oil changed, is the clutch sticking?

All of these factors combined make it more likely to have an accident with a Zipcar while at the same time potentially recovering less in damages than you would have if you had an accident with a non Zipcar.  If you are in an accident with a Zipcar, you should talk to a car accident lawyer Kansas City, MO right away.

Can I sue Zipcar in Addition to the Driver?

People injured in a car accident involving a Zipcar of course have a cause of action to file against the driver of the vehicle.  However, as noted above, the amount of insurance coverage is potentially not going to cover all damages, so an experienced attorney will try to find additional parties to sue to make sure the victim recovers the amount they are fully entitled to.

One additional party to sue is Zipcar, if your lawyer can prove that Zipcar was somehow responsible for the accident.  Zipcar is great defendant because they have up to $5 million in additional coverage per accident.  To prove Zipcar was responsible for the accident we look to prove things like, they knew the car had a defect and still let it get rented, there were in facts defects, or a routine maintenance on the vehicle didn’t happen and led to the accident.

Potential maintenance and mechanical issues that could prove Zipcar is responsible for the accident include:

  • Worn out tires – Did a tire blow out because it was old and worn down? Was the tread on the tire to low and lead to an accident in wet or snowy conditions?
  • Breaks give out – Were the breaks working properly? Did breaks fail leading to a longer time to break than necessary?
  • Warning signals – Was there a broken brake light or turn signal? If the driver did not know of these issues, it becomes a Zipcar issue.

What if you Are the Driver of a Zipcar Involved in an Accident?

If you are the driver of a Zipcar and another causes an accident, you may be able to recover damages from the other driver.  However, if you are the driver of a Zipcar and caused an accident you cannot sue Zipcar unless you are able to prove improper maintenance or mechanical issues like bad tires, improperly working signals, or other similar issues.

Contact Your Kansas City Auto Accident Attorneys

If you were in a car accident involving Zipcar in Kansas City or anywhere in Missouri, talk to an attorney right away.  You may be able to recover more compensation from Zipcar by hiring an experience law firm that knows how to investigate the car and see if there were issues Zipcar should have taken care of.  Royce Injury can help you get the money you deserve.

Contact Royce Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation with a Kansas City ZipCar Accident Lawyer.  You pay nothing until we win your case. Call us now at 855-976-9235.

Our Successes

$6,000,000 Wrongful Death

Settlement to family of wrongful death victim from a collapsed elevator door.

$2,000,000 Medical Malpractice

Settlement for failure to diagnose lung cancer.

$4,000,000 Hospital Malpractice

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