Which Forum Handles Rental Car Disputes?

Image of cars lined up in a lotUnfortunately, there can be some confusion about which forum resolves disputes for damage to rental cars. Contractual liability is sometimes confused with a driver’s negligence in causing an auto accident, resulting in a case filed in the Auto Forum when it should have been filed in the Special Forum.
 
To determine where the dispute belongs, it is important to correctly identify the specific issue in dispute. When the dispute involves first-party coverage between a self-insured member and a member company providing the same first-party vehicle coverage (i.e., the renter), it is a concurrent coverage dispute and should be filed in the Special Forum, even if the only issue between the first-party companies is damages.
 
If the dispute involves liability based on a breach(es) of duty that caused resulting damage, (for example, who ran a red light and struck the parked rental car) the case is a liability dispute and should be filed in the Auto Forum. The Auto Forum was designed primarily to resolve liability disputes (disputes about causation), and the liability portion of the system in the Auto Forum addresses duties breached, not issues related to concurrent first-party coverage.

Responder Tip: The Auto Forum was designed to resolve disputes involving liability based on a breach(es) of duty that caused resulting damage. This is why the responding party is asked about its liability deductible, and not its collision (first-party) deductible. If the dispute involves concurrent coverage, even if the only issue is the amount of the damages, the responding party should raise a Jurisdictional Exclusion and redirect the filing party to file the dispute in the Special Forum in the Feature Response:
Screenshot of workflow steps 

Screenshot of the concurrent coverage option in jurisdictional exclusions

Filer Tip: Disputes involving concurrent coverage are resolved in the Special Forum, even if the only issue between the first-party carriers is damages. If a concurrent coverage dispute is filed in the Auto Forum incorrectly, the responding party can raise a Jurisdictional Exclusion and the case will be dismissed. Disputes involving concurrent coverage should be filed in the Special Forum to avoid a delay in the resolution process.
 


Article published in: January 2020 E-Bulletin