Rental car companies make renting a car really easy. You walk in, show someone a driver's license, provide a credit card, sign a couple pieces of paper, and you're ready to drive. With smartphones and apps, it is becoming even easier. However, rental car companies frequently are doing quite a bit behind the scenes to make sure you are who you say you are, and that you are really licensed.
Ordinarily, when a person causes a car accident, they will be held liable for the damages and injuries they cause. In most states, if the owner and driver of the car are different people, the vehicle's owner can also be found liable under a theory of negligent entrustment. Additionally, if a vehicle owner lends or rents a vehicle that has not been properly maintained, they may also be found liable for an accident that results from that improper maintenance.