Car accidents are sadly common events occurring across the nation every day. A notable aspect of car accidents is the increasing number of car rental accidents. A challenge when you are in an accident with a rental vehicle is that it is more complex than an accident involving your car.
Rental Car Insurance Explained
Rental companies offer a wide range of automobile coverage for an additional fee, including coverage for vehicle damage, injury to others, injury to yourself, and damage to personal possessions. While rental insurance can offer a good degree of protection, it may lack the specifics and features of your policy. Plus, an existing auto insurance policy may cover your rental based on your coverage. Also, depending on the terms of your credit card, if you use it to rent an automobile you may already be protected.
With rental cars, liability can be complex. If you run a stop sign and cause an accident, you are liable for the damage due to your actions. However, other factors are taken into account. If your rental car was badly maintained and this caused an accident, the rental company could be liable. If your rental car had issues with its breaking system and these problems were ignored, liability could fall on the rental agency due to a lack of care. Other possible liable parties could be the automobile manufacturer if their automobile has a known defect or the carelessness of other drivers, such as someone hitting you from behind and pushing you into another car.
Every state has its particular laws as it relates to automobile operations. For example, some states are strict as it relates to at-fault laws and different states can have different statutes of limitations and time frames for when a claim can be filed. Other laws such as no fault can also place caps on compensation. See Florida for one such example.
Legal Obligations of Rental Companies
Automobile rental companies have to provide a baseline level of care in how they maintain and rent out their automobiles. Typically, a car rental company is unable to be sued in the case of an accident. However, this is not always the case. They can be considered liable if they did not properly maintain or inspect their vehicles, leading to an unsafe automobile being rented out. This also extends to drivers and a rental company can be liable if they rent a car to someone they did not properly verify, such as renting a car to someone with a suspended license. In such a situation, a rental company may be held liable, and legal action taken by an auto accident lawyer.
Steps To Take After a Rental Car Accident
When you’re in an accident with a rental car you should take proper steps to ensure your safety and collect important information. First survey the situation, check for injuries, and check the surrounding situation. After everyone is safe, contact law enforcement, and record important data such as what happened, when, where, and who was involved. Collect contact and insurance information from the other driver. Record any evidence that could help in a legal case such as what the car did, pictures, and police statements. Also, if you are injured in any way (even mildly), seek proper medical attention.
Rental car cases can be complex as there are many variables to remember. In one case, a family’s automobile was struck by a rental car driven by a Hertz employee. This car was known to have had breaking issues and did not stop in time. The family was awarded over $375,000. Another such case saw an award of over $500,000 as a driver operating a rental automobile struck an automobile from behind.
When You Need Legal Assistance
When you need an auto accident lawyer, The Ledger Law Firm is here to help. If you have been in a rental car accident, reach out to them today at (800) 300-0001 or www.ledgerlaw.com for a consultation.