A number of rental car companies doing business in New Jersey are still using vehicles that are prone to rollovers. Obviously such rollovers can lead to risk of severe trauma including spinal cord injuries, concussions, fractures and death.
Obviously, the problem with all spinal cord injuries is that the condition is often permanent in nature. Likely such an injury will require permanent medical treatment and rehabilitative therapy and will result in great limitations to the type of profession such an injured individual can pursue.
Car rental companies often rely upon car manufacturers in providing safety features upon such vehicles that will decrease the chances of rollover accidents. The attitude of such companies seems to be that so long as minimal safety regulations of the vehicles are met, they can purchase any vehicle they want for their fleet of rental cars.
For example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car decided against purchasing of cars with side-curtain air bags from the Chevy Impalas it purchased from General Motors. And though they didn’t purchase this feature in their vehicles, they still represented that some of the cars were equipped with these airbags.
Probably the most serious accusation against Enterprise was in its rental of SUVs from Ford Motor Company that were not equipped with an optional stability-control system. Such a system could have been installed cheaply – costing anywhere from $100 to $500 for each vehicle. One woman driving such a vehicle alleged that the SUV she was in rolled over four times in a single accident and left the woman paralyzed.
Companies do need to be held accountable when they take shortcuts on safety. Though proving up that such a company has not taken sufficient measures to safeguard their products can be difficult, attorneys experienced in the area of personal injury and product liability are used to litigating these types of claims.
Source: USA Today, “Safety advocates: Rental car recalls should be regulated,” by Gary Stoller, Feb. 21, 2012