The Consumer Attorneys of California believe that you should, and they have been working to protect your interest by sponsoring AB 2039 which is authored by Charles Calderon.
The attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys strongly endorse this bill to revise the California law regarding service of process on people who have accidents in California and then go home, often to areas where service is almost impossible to achieve and is certainly expensive. Basically, this means that if you are in an accident with a non-resident who is driving a rental car, you might have great difficulty exercising your right to sue this person in addition to the rental agency and the insurance company. You may have been seriously injured, yet you cannot start a lawsuit against them. One of the requirements to start a lawsuit is to give notice to the defendant of the suit. If this service cannot be achieved, then the suit is delayed.
The CAOC supported bill will require a non-resident driver making an agreement to be covered by purchasing the rental agency’s insurance to also agree that the rental agency will be their agent to receive service of process. Of course, if the Plaintiff serves the rental agency they must agree that they will not sue for an amount higher than the insurance policy limits.
That means that if you have an accident with that non-resident driver in a rental car, you no longer need to go to Thailand or even Utah to serve the notice of your lawsuit. When this bill becomes law, you would just need to serve the rental car agency right there in your hometown who will accept service as an agent of the non-resident driver. This will be possible if and only if that driver took out insurance with the rental agency upon renting the car. Under this bill, you can only sue this driver for insurance policy limits, which are the amount the policy agrees to cover, i.e., for example $100,000. In the event that you were successful at trial, you could not collect any more than that $100,000.
Mr. Calderon and the CAOC members have proposed this bill to better serve the California driver, who previously was frustrated in their attempt to recover from non-resident rental drivers for accident damages.