Despite the increasing availability of rideshare services, like Uber or Lyft, rental cars remain a vast form of transportation in the U.S. As with other vehicles, car rental drivers can get into car accidents. When you’re on the receiving end of this accident, you may be wondering what to do next.
If you were hit by someone driving a rental car and suffered bodily injury or property damage to your vehicle, learn more about:
- your legal rights
- whether you’ll need your own car insurance coverage or the renter’s insurance policy
- if the driver’s rental car company will be responsible for covering damages
What To Do If You’re In A Car Accident With The Driver Of A Rental Car
In any auto accident, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your legal rights should you choose to file a personal injury claim. If you’re the car accident victim in a collision with the driver of a rental car, consider the following tips:
1. Collect Contact Information And Insurance Information
The first and perhaps most important step after getting into a car accident with a rental car driver is getting their contact information and insurance information. If you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the rental car company or at-fault driver later on, this information could be crucial.
Be sure that you or a law enforcement officer take down the rental car driver’s:
- full name
- driver’s license number
- rental car company name
- driver’s insurance company contact information
If the rental car driver doesn’t have their own car insurance information, or can’t provide proof of their rental insurance paperwork, ensure you at least write down their contact information so you can get this information later.
2. Contact Authorities To File A Police Report
Most states require all motor vehicle accidents be reported to law enforcement, though some only require reporting accidents which total a certain amount of damage or more. To protect your legal rights to file a personal injury claim or property damage lawsuit later on, it’s important to have a documented accident report.
3. Review The Rental Agreement Between The Renter And Rental Car Company
A car crash that involves a rental car can be complex, which is why it’s important to understand the driver’s rental agreement. Rental insurance isn’t legally required.
Most drivers with comprehensive collision coverage will have access to coverage in case of an accident in a rental car. They may choose to opt out of the additional insurance policy offered by the rental company that protects them in case of damage to the rental car.
What type of rental agreement the renter has, which rental car company they chose to use, and what’s covered by their own insurance plan as well as the rental car company’s additional insurance are important details to know.
4. Reach Out To A Personal Injury Law Firm
Some of these details, especially those related to insurance, may be difficult to sift through on your own. A personal injury lawyer can help make this process easier by providing a free case evaluation to explain your legal rights.
A car accident lawyer with experience in personal injury and property damage practice areas can help you understand whether it makes sense to file a personal injury lawsuit and if your case is strong enough to pursue a settlement offer.
5. Review Your Auto Insurance Policy
While you may not be held liable for any damages if you were not the at fault driver, any bodily injury you sustained may be covered by your own auto insurance company. Most states require some form of personal injury protection (PIP) policy, which covers you in the case of an auto accident up to a certain amount.
Personal injury cases filed against the rental car company, rental car driver, or the driver’s insurance company will likely cover costs beyond what’s covered by typical insurance coverage.
For a more detailed discussion of what should be covered by your own insurance policy and what should be covered by the other driver or car rental company, consider a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
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Will The Rental Car Insurance Company Cover Damages?
Whether the rental car’s insurance company will be responsible for covering damages in a car accident depends on a few factors—such as whether the renter bought a collision damage waiver (CDW).
A collision damage waiver is a separate policy offered by rental car companies to drivers to protect them from any damage caused to the car while they’re driving it. This policy is not technically auto insurance and can be offered by a credit card company through many credit cards as well. This waiver only covers the rental car.
This means if you’re hit by someone driving a rental car and they have a CDW, they will likely not be held responsible. In this case, the car rental company may be held responsible for any personal injury or property damage you suffered.
Will The Rental Car Company Be Held Liable?
A rental car company may be held liable if you are hit by someone driving a rental car and you are not found to be at fault for the accident.
However, if the rental car driver did not purchase a collision damage waiver and also does not have their own car insurance, you may have to file an insurance claim through your insurance company before pursuing damages. To know which steps to take following an accident with a rental car driver for your individual case, talk to an experienced car accident attorney.
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Call Florin|Roebig Today For Help With Your Rental Car Accident
If you’ve been in a collision with a rental car driver, you may be suffering serious injury, vehicle damage, or more. Find out what your options are and seek sound legal advice today. Contact Florin|Roebig law firm for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.