Who’s Liable for an Accident Involving a Rental Car?
Most people who rent a car are doing so for something fun, like taking a cross-country trip, heading to the beach, etc. Having an accident in that rental can not only ruin that trip, it could also lead to a lot of headaches. Those hassles could even be worse if you or someone else is injured. If that’s the case, then you might need to start looking into attorneys.
Jones Law Group attorneys can help you navigate the potential complexities and help you obtain the compensation you have coming to you. If you would like to learn more or schedule a free review of your case, use our online form or give us a call at (727) 571-1333.
Here’s some information that will help clear up some of the confusion that typically results from accidents involving rental cars.
What Are My Options for Recovering Compensation?
If you’ve been hurt in any kind of car accident, whether it involves a rental car or not, you’re going to incur losses, or “damages.” Damages can include medical bills, wages you’ve lost because you can’t work, and many others.
But if the accident occurs in a rental, you might have other ways to pursue compensation. Here are just a couple to keep in mind.
Rental Car Insurance Coverage
Even if you don’t have car insurance, you might want to consider buying insurance from the rental car company. If you are insured, it could still be a very good idea. Rental insurance will increase the amount of coverage you already have. This will be especially smart if you’re only carrying liability coverage.
Of course, no one gets on the road planning to get involved in a wreck – that’s why the vast majority of us have insurance in the first place. There’s a chance your regular policy might be just fine. It could very well provide enough coverage for your medical expenses, as well as damages incurred by another driver if you’re to blame for an accident.
But you should check your policy just to make sure. Look at the limits of that policy, as well as the deductible. If you’re not sure that policy will be enough, it won’t hurt to stay on the safe side and take what the rental company is offering.
Coverage from a Credit Card’s Collision Damage Waiver
Did you pay for the rental with a credit card instead of your debit card or cash? If that’s the case, then you probably already have a waiver for collision damage. This simply means that the rental car company won’t be able to go after you for any damage. There’s even a chance your card will reimburse you up to $1,000 for the deductible.
Credit card coverage will typically not be a substitute for insurance offered by the company that rented you the car. It will probably only cover things like collision damage, administrative fees and towing expenses. Card coverage won’t pay for medical expenses.
Since different cards have different benefits, call your credit card company for more information on exactly what it will cover.
Determining Who Pays for Damage to the Rental Car
Just like in any kind of car accident, determining how to blame – and how much compensation the driver will receive if hurt – can be challenging. You might be driving a rental through Florida and you’re trying to make a right turn on red, while the other driver is making a U-turn. If your two vehicles collide, who will be to blame?
There are a lot of factors that will go into establishing liability. Two of the most important will be who was driving the rented vehicle, and whether or not that person is out of state.
If the driver wasn’t authorized, there’s a chance the rental insurance won’t cover any damages that result from an accident. That means if the driver of the rental wasn’t the so-called “permissible driver,” you might have to pursue compensation through the company that insures the driver’s personal vehicle.
Another consideration is whether the person renting the vehicle is from out of state. That person might not have enough coverage to meet Florida’s minimum requirements. In this kind of instance, you’ll also have to pursue compensation through their personal auto policy.
What if You Weren’t At-Fault for the Accident?
Even if you’re convinced the other driver is to blame for the accident, you’re going to need evidence to prove your case. This means taking pictures, getting witness statements (or at least the names and phone numbers of people who saw the accident), and having documentation of your injuries (photos, medical bills, etc.).
It will also be very wise to hire a skilled attorney. Your legal representative can find evidence you might not be able to get on your own, such as footage from nearby video cameras. In many instances, law firms will call in expert witnesses to make a client’s case even stronger.
Suppose there was something wrong with the rental car, and that malfunction played a role in causing the accident. The brakes might have been faulty, or the tires may have not been properly inflated – they might have even been bald. If that’s the case, you might be able to take action against the rental car company as well.
Do You Need Help Filing Your Rental Car Accident Claim? We’re Here to Help
Very few automobile accidents are straightforward – especially those that involve injuries. As you can see, the complexities only increase when an accident involves a rental car.
The last thing you’ll want to deal with is the hassle of trying to deal with all of the complexities on your own. If you’ve been hurt, all you should have to concentrate on is getting better as fast as you can.