There are many reasons why people need to rent cars. They might temporarily need a car when traveling for work or a vacation or want a car with different features or more space than their own car. Regardless of the reason, rental cars offer several benefits in certain situations. But what happens if a rental car hits you and you suffer injuries? Who do you turn to for compensation for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and pain and suffering?
Being involved in a crash is stressful enough, even when no third parties are involved. It’s understandable that many people find dealing with a rental car accident considerably worse. Rental car accidents can be incredibly complex to navigate — with multiple parties involved — and you may likely feel overwhelmed and confused about how to proceed.
Nix Patterson is a preeminent national contingency law firm with thorough knowledge and experience in rental car accident cases. Our highly-skilled car accident lawyers have helped countless injured victims like you get justice after a crash, including collisions involving rental cars.
If you crashed a rental car or were struck by someone driving one, it’s crucial to know what steps to take to protect your rights. In many ways, the initial steps you should take after a crash involving a rental car are similar to what you’d do after an accident involving your own car, except for one added step.
Check for injuries and make sure everyone is okay and out of harm’s way. Move your car from the roadway to a safe area if possible.
Call 911. If anyone is injured, request immediate medical assistance. Other situations where you need to call the police include when:
In addition to ensuring all parties involved are safe, contacting the police will lead to the creation of a police report, which can be invaluable to your rental car accident claim or personal injury lawsuit — if you need to file one.
Exchange contact details, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance info with any other drivers involved, but do not admit fault or discuss details of the accident with them.
Take pictures of your injuries, the scene, the damage, and the vehicle’s position.
Contact your rental car company. If you check your rental agreement or inside the glove box, there should be a toll-free emergency number to call for such situations. Do not discuss fault or other details of the accident. Instead, explain that a crash occurred and ask the company how to proceed.
Contact your insurance company. Dealing with the aftermath of a rental car accident can be a daunting process. Given the added complexities that come with multiple parties being involved and the issue of your rental agreement, you may also want to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side if you’ve been injured.
While rental car accidents share similarities with regular auto accidents, it’s important to recognize that they differ from regular auto accidents in certain ways. Understanding these differences helps your chance for a favorable case outcome.
When you sign a rental car agreement, you become responsible for any damage or loss to the rental car, regardless of whether you were at fault or not. That could be minor paintwork damage caused by loose stones or serious damage during a crash.
After a crash in a rental car, you will have to rely on your own insurance coverage to pay for the rental car damages. You may also be charged “loss of use” costs.
If the other driver wasn’t at fault, you may not recover any reimbursement for the costs paid to the rental company. Additionally, the rental company could come after you to recover the profit they lost while the rental car is being repaired.
When you rent a car and are involved in an accident, depending on your actions at the time of renting the car, there are three likely sources of insurance to help with the rental car accident claim:
Nearly all states require drivers to have minimum auto insurance to legally operate a vehicle. Texas, for instance, requires bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. In most cases, your existing auto insurance should cover damages when a rental car hits you.
Many credit cards offer coverage to customers for rental car accidents. If you paid for the rental car using your credit card, you might have rental car insurance coverage provided by your credit card company. However, note that the insurance provided by your credit card may not provide liability coverage, which means it may only cover damage to the rental car and not your medical expenses.
Rental companies offer customers supplementary insurance that provides extra coverage beyond what a typical personal auto insurance policy covers. These supplemental insurance coverages will cost you extra dollars, usually charged per day. The add-on insurance provided by rental companies can be extremely helpful in the event of a crash, especially if you have high deductibles or your auto policy does not include rental car coverage.
The most common types of insurance coverage provided by rental car companies include the following:
When you’re in a car accident in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or other at-fault states, and another driver is to blame for the accident, usually, they would be accountable for the injuries you sustain and the damage to your car.
But when you’re driving a rental car, liability works differently. You will be liable for any damages to the rental car after a crash, even if the other driver is at fault. However, both you and the rental company will have the option to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for property damage. You may also file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party for injuries, lost wages, and other reasonable expenses related to the accident.
Establishing automobile negligence after a rental car accident is vitally important because otherwise, the rental company may hold you liable. Suppose you don’t have adequate insurance to cover the cost of damages to the rental vehicle. In that case, you could be facing hefty bills from the rental car company in addition to your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering brought on by the crash.
So, what happens if a rental car hits you and you are not to blame? If you were in an accident involving a driver operating a rental car, and they were at fault, you will likely need to file a claim with their auto insurance, the insurance provided to them by the rental company, or a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
As per The Graves Amendment, a rental car company cannot be held responsible if a driver gets into an accident or is injured. In other words, simply owning the rental car does not make the company liable for any personal injury claims. However, it is important to note that the rental car company’s liability is not completely eliminated in all situations. Speak with an attorney to help you determine how to best go about your rental car accident case.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a rental car crash, you deserve a hard-working personal injury legal team to protect your rights. Dealing with insurance companies while focusing on your recovery can be stressful enough without adding the extra complexities of rental car insurance or disputes with the rental car company. Don’t go through this nerve-racking experience alone.
At Nix Patterson, we understand the state and federal laws related to rental car accidents. We have protected the rights of injured victims in the same situations as you and have an impressive track record of successfully taking on big insurance companies. Call us at 512-328-5333 for a free consultation about your case.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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