Who Pays for Damages in an Accident While Driving a Rental Car?
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Dec 22, 2020 in Auto Accidents
Car accidents are already stressful experiences. When you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car, there can be even more stress and confusion. You many have many questions about the situation and what to do, such as: Will be responsible for paying my damages?
At Gordon & Partners, we want to help all drivers understand their rights and options after an accident, whether you are driving your own car or a rental. If you have been injured in an accident and need legal help, contact our firm to learn more about your options during a free consultation.
Understanding Your Responsibilities as a Renter
By renting a car, you are assuming responsibility for that car. The rental agreement you sign requires that you return the car in the same condition it was rented to you. Once that agreement is signed, you are legally responsible for any damage to the car while driving it, regardless if you are to blame or not.
Car Insurance and Rental Cars
If you are a licensed driver in Florida, you are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Your PIP coverage will help pay for damages to the rental car and cover up to 80 percent of your medical bills ,not to exceed $10,000. However, your deductible will need to be paid out of pocket.
Florida requires car rental companies to carry insurance on their cars, but there is no law that states that someone must purchase additional coverage on top of his or her PIP insurance. Rental car insurance in Florida is optional, but without personal auto insurance, you will need to purchase coverage from the rental car company. You cannot rent a car in the state without having insurance.
Some credit card companies may even offer rental car insurance if you use their card to pay for a rental. That is why it is important to review your auto insurance policy to see if your existing coverage will protect you while driving a rental car, especially in the event of an accident.
Handling a Crash When a Rental Car is Involved
Your main priority after any crash is to get to safety, contact the police and seek medical treatment. It is important to stay with your car, and then exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. If possible, take detailed pictures of the accident scene and all cars involved.
With a car rental, be sure that the insurance information is in the glove box and that you have the rental car company’s contact details. Taking these steps will make it easier to get the compensation you need.
Paying Damages for an Accident in a Rental Car
Even if the other driver is at fault for the accident, damage to the rental car will likely result in charges to your insurance policy, the rental car company’s insurance policy or to the credit card used to rent the car. This is because Florida is a no-fault insurance state. You will not be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurer to cover the damages.
However, for serious injuries resulting in costly medical expenses, filing a personal injury lawsuit may allow you to seek compensation for losses related to the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.
A licensed West Palm Beach car accident lawyer from our firm is prepared to review your situation in a free case evaluation to determine whether taking legal action would be in your best interest.
What If I Have an Out-of-State Accident in a Rental Car?
Most rental car companies allow their cars to be driven across state lines, but not all of them. There may be certain restrictions you are not aware of. If you get into an out-of-state car accident while in breach of your rental contract, any damages may be solely your responsibility.
Car accident laws vary from state to state, which is why we recommend speaking with a member of our legal team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.
Request a Free Consultation to Get Started
Being in a car accident is never easy and there may be additional challenges if you were driving a rental car. However, you do not have to face these challenges on your own. Our lawyers are ready to seek maximum compensation for your damages. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.
It costs nothing to call our firm to request a free consultation. There is no obligation after this initial meeting to hire us, but if you do, there is no cost unless we obtain compensation for you.