If you’re involved in a rental car crash, what happens next depends on insurance coverage and who is liable. If you opted for coverage with the rental company, it can pay for some losses. Your car and credit card insurance could also provide benefits. If someone else was at fault role, you can potentially pursue a lawsuit against them to recoup your losses. A rental car accident lawyer with a Pittsburgh personal injury law firm can review your options.
Insurance Options If You Are Responsible for a Crash While Driving a Rental Car
If you were at fault, you are responsible for the costs associated with the crash. Insurance coverage is likely your first stop for paying these costs.
However, since the car wasn’t yours, you must determine which coverage applies. That depends on your insurance coverage and what additional coverage you opted for from the rental company.
Your Insurance Coverage
Your auto insurance is likely your primary coverage in case of an accident, even if you were driving a rental. Check if you have:
- Collision/comprehensive coverage
- Liability coverage
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
- Credit card insurance coverage
In particular, liability coverage helps pay for the other party’s expenses if you are responsible for the accident. Collision/comprehensive coverage can help pay for the damage to the vehicle, even if you are at fault.
As the Insurance Information Institute (III) notes, your credit card coverage is typically secondary to auto insurance, so you won’t receive benefits until you have reached your primary insurance policy’s limits.
However, if you carry only the minimum required auto insurance or skip certain types of coverage, you might need more to pay all the expenses associated with the accident. You may have to pay those costs out of your pocket. You can check with a car accident lawyer from our firm if you have specific questions about your coverage and liability.
The Rental Car Company’s Insurance Coverage
Just like car owners, rental companies must carry the minimum liability insurance coverage required by the state. If you don’t own a car and therefore don’t carry auto insurance, you can use the company’s coverage when renting. This can then help cover some expenses after an accident, especially if you were responsible.
Rental car companies also offer optional:
- Loss damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW)
- Personal accident insurance
LDW/CDW protects you from having to pay for the damage to the car. However, the III reports that some accident circumstances can void these waivers. Personal accident insurance is similar to PIP and can cover medical bills.
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Insurance Options If You Crash a Rental Car but Are Not Responsible
Both your own insurance and the rental company’s insurance can cover your expenses following a crash caused by someone else. Again, you will need to check what coverage you have and what coverage you signed up for with the rental company to determine who pays for what. The insurance companies can then recover their losses from the negligent driver’s insurance or out of the driver’s pocket.
How long it takes to receive a settlement depends on the circumstances. In some cases, squabbles between insurance companies and liable parties can drag out cases, leaving you in limbo. You can consult our attorneys if you feel you haven’t received what you deserve in a reasonable time frame.
Remember—Rental Companies Aren’t Necessarily on Your Side
After an accident, rental car companies focus on what they lost, not what you lost. Even if you were the victim and opted for coverage with them, they may try to find ways out of paying your damages.
You should also look out for fees. For instance, the rental company might hold you liable for all the days you rented the car, whether you use it or not. They might also charge you for time beyond that while the car is in the shop.
If you aren’t at fault, you shouldn’t have to pay anything for your accident. Your insurer can potentially help pay additional rental fees; your policy terms may even already cover these situations. Our rental car injury lawyers can also explore your other options for recouping these losses.
Your Insurance Company Isn’t Always on Your Side Either
Like rental car companies, insurance companies are looking out for themselves first and you second. This is sometimes especially true when multiple parties are involved. Insurers may try to foist certain expenses onto another party rather than pay them.
Issues with your insurance are another scenario in which our attorney can help. We can review who is responsible for what expenses and hold everyone accountable. In some cases, an insurance company might even operate in bad faith by not conducting an investigation, unfairly denying your claim, or imposing unnecessary requirements. We can spot these situations and help ensure you are treated fairly.
Filing a Lawsuit After Crashing in a Rental Car
Even with insurance—whether your own or what the rental company offers—your injury expenses may exceed your coverage, especially if you suffered serious injuries. Some scenarios in which you can pursue a lawsuit for a rental car accident include:
- You suffered serious injuries and high costs due to someone’s negligence, and insurance coverage isn’t enough.
- All parties can’t agree on who was responsible, who is liable, or what your accident losses are worth.
- An insurance company is operating in bad faith.
- Another party contributed to the accident, such as a product manufacturer, government entity, or property owner.
- The rental car company was negligent in maintaining their vehicle.
In some of these situations, you can recover compensation through insurance and a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, if the other driver was distracted and their tire blew because of a defect, you can recoup costs through the driver’s insurance and sue the car tire manufacturer for creating a defective product.
Rental car companies are also obligated to maintain their vehicles. If you suspect a problem with the rental car contributed to your accident, our attorneys can investigate and consult with auto experts to determine if poor maintenance played a role. We can hold the company liable with a lawsuit for negligence.
Get More Information About Rental Car Crash Coverage
If you are in a crash involving a rental car, what happens next depends on various variables, so reach out for personalized guidance from Berger and Green. You can reach out for personalized guidance from Berger and Green so you can know what to do about your situation. Contact us today for a free consultation. You can learn more about who to hold liable, what damages you could receive, and how to handle insurance adjusters. Call now.