Auto Accident Settlement
What to Know if You Were in a Rental Car Accident
There is a lot of freedom that comes with the ability to rent a car for a fun road trip or business in a different city. But, when you’re involved in an accident in a rental car, the luxuriousness of a rental can quickly turn into a murky world of unsureness. So, what should you do if you’re involved in a rental car accident? Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about what happens if you have an accident in a rental car.
What Happens if you Have an Accident in a Rental Car?
Trying to figure out who to involve in a rental car accident claim can become a little tricky, depending on the circumstances. For instance, due to the structure of insurance coverage of the parties involved, you may find yourself dealing with insurance companies that represent you, the rental company, and the other driver(s). Add to that the possibility that your credit card company may become entangled in the situation.
If another driver hits you and you are the one driving a rental car, then that driver’s insurance company is responsible for the claim, as is the case with any other accident in the Treasure Coast of Florida. If it is clear you have no liability, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
However, if the other driver is the one driving the rental car, it can become a little more complicated. If the other driver purchased additional insurance coverage at the time of the rental, you would make the claim to that insurance company. But, if the other driver did not purchase additional coverage, you would make the claim to that driver’s personal insurance company. And, if that driver was uninsured or underinsured, you may need to file a claim through your own insurance company.
Because a rental car accident can become a tangled mess so quickly, you don’t want to deal with the situation on your own. It is advisable to seek out the assistance of an attorney who is qualified to handle rental car accidents as soon as possible.
Does an Accident in a Rental Car Affect my Insurance?
Your personal car insurance will protect you the same way in a rental car accident as it would in an accident in your own personal vehicle. Pursuant to the car insurance law in Florida, your PIP and PDL insurance will cover liability in a rental car accident up to 80% of medical expenses up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault.
However, if you are deemed to be at fault in the accident, you are subject to the same fines and raised insurance rates as you would in any other accident situation. Under Florida law, in order for your rates to go up, you must be found to be “substantially at fault” for the accident.
What if I Get into an Accident in a Rental Car Without Insurance?
This can depend on a lot of different circumstances. If you rented the car with a debit card, the rental company likely required that you either purchase insurance coverage or required proof of personal coverage. If you used a credit card, the rental company may not have required either. This is because some types of credit cards have rental car insurance provided as a perk. If your credit card does not offer rental car insurance, you did not purchase insurance, and you have no personal insurance, then you will be personally responsible for damages to the vehicle if you are at fault in an accident.
What if the Accident was Caused by a Defective Rental Car?
If the cause of the accident was beyond your control and found to be the result of defects or deficiencies in the rental car, then the rental company could be found negligent and liable for all damages. In this case, both you and the other driver would pursue a case against the rental car company for negligence.
However, the company must have known about these defects and taken reasonable steps to address them. So, for example, if the company ignored a manufacturer recall notice and knowingly continued to rent the vehicle without addressing the recall issue, resulting in an accident, that would be a serious type of negligence on the part of the rental car company.
What Other Ways can a Rental Car Company be Found Negligent?
There are a few other instances where the rental car company can be negligent in a rental car accident. For example, if the company did not properly ensure that the person renting the vehicle was properly licensed to drive (including foreign licenses), failed to deny a rental to an intoxicated person or another significant failure on the part of the company or an employee.
I Got Into an Accident in a Rental Car that Someone Else Rented. Who is Liable?
When a person rents a car, there are required to give the names and information of the people who will be driving the vehicle. If your name was not on that list, then the person who rented the vehicle will be responsible for the damage resulting from the accident. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily let you off the hook in subsequent court proceedings should the victims of the accident decide to pursue you personally.
How Can I Hire a Rental Car Accident Attorney in Florida?
A consultation is the first step to finding the right rental car accident attorney for you. This can be done by phone, email, video conference, or in person. Your consultation is a good place to start as you go over the facts of the case in an open environment so that you will know if you have a good chance of winning the case or not.
Remember, the right rental car accident attorney can make the difference between a small settlement and a large settlement, which will help you keep more of your own money and time. Here at HTLL, we are committed to getting the maximum value for our rental car accident clients. We highly recommend that you save yourself a trip to our office by scheduling a free virtual consultation. Simply contact us online or call us at (866) 460-1990 to privately discuss your case right over the phone or in a secure virtual meeting.
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