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What is the Graves Amendment?

Many of the visitors who travel to Hawaii from the continental United States elect to rent vehicles to get themselves around the islands. While having the freedom to go where they choose when they want is appealing to many visitors, the roads and highways of the Hawaiian Islands can be challenging for inexperienced drivers to safely travel. It is an unfortunate truth that visitors are often involved in serious motor vehicle accidents when on vacation in Hawaii.

When a person is involved in an accident with another individual who is driving a rented car, a careful analysis of who is liable for the accident should be undertaken. If it is found that the responsible driver was the one operating the rented car, it may seem fair that the accident victim could sue both the driver and the rental company that allowed the driver to take the car out on the road. The Graves Amendment prevents this, though, unless certain conditions exist.

The Graves Amendment is federal legislation that prohibits lawsuits against rental car companies for the negligent actions of the drivers who rent from them. However, if a rental care company was negligent in their operations, such as renting a dangerous or defective vehicle, or engaged in criminal conduct, then they may no longer be protected by the tenants of the Graves Amendment.

Generally, an accident caused by a driver who is operating a rented car will proceed similarly to one that involves an accident between individuals who were driving their own vehicles. In order to ensure that an exception to the Graves Amendment does not exist, motor vehicle accident victims should consider speaking with personal injury attorneys about their cases to better understand their legal options.

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