Who is Responsible in an Accident Involving a Rental Car?
Brian White | November 17, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Being involved in a car accident is stressful under any circumstances. However, when a rental car is involved in a car accident, a personal injury claim can become complicated.
The other parties involved in the car crash are not interested in protecting your best interest. Insurance companies are more interested in avoiding liability than paying a claim. Before you take any action, it can help to talk with a car accident lawyer about who is responsible for your injuries and damages.
Who is Responsible for Damages After a Rental Car Accident?
As with any other car accident, the person responsible for causing the collision is generally liable for damages caused by the crash. That does not change when a person is driving a rental car.
Therefore, if the driver of a rental car causes a speeding accident, pedestrian accident, rear-end crash, or motorcycle accident, that driver is responsible for compensating the victims for damages caused by the crash. However, because a rental car is involved, insurance coverage can be more complicated.
Liability Automobile Insurance Policies
Under Texas automobile insurance laws, all drivers must carry minimum liability insurance coverage. Liability car insurance compensates victims for their damages when you cause a car accident.
The minimum coverage required in Texas is $30,000 for injury to one person in a car crash ($60,000 for injury to two or more people). Drivers must also carry a minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage. You can purchase higher limits, which is advisable if you have substantial assets you would want to protect from a personal judgment.
Many insurance policies cover drivers for accidents they cause while driving a rental car. If so, your claim will likely be handled by the driver’s insurance provider, even though the person was driving a rental car. However, it could also be covered under a policy purchased from the rental car agency.
Rental Car Insurance Policies
You should always check with your insurance provider to confirm that your personal insurance covers a rental car accident. The rental company might offer additional insurance coverage. If the driver purchased additional insurance coverage through the rental car agency, that policy might also compensate you for car accident damages.
Insurance Through Credit Cards
Some credit card companies offer their customers insurance coverage when they use their credit card to pay for a rental car. The insurance coverage is often limited and might not compensate victims. It is worth checking into, especially if there is not enough insurance coverage through other policies to compensate you fully for all injuries and damages caused by the rental car accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you purchased uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage through your insurance company, you might also have a claim against your insurance policy. These insurance coverage policies protect you if a driver does not have car insurance or does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your claim.
Are You Responsible for Damages if You Were Not at Fault?
If you were driving a rental car involved in an accident, you could be liable for property damages even though you were not at fault. When you sign a rental car agreement, you consent to be responsible for any damage to the vehicle, regardless of the cause of the damage.
Therefore, if someone causes an accident that damages the rental car, you might be required to pay for the damage. You would then sue the other driver for reimbursement of the money you had to pay the rental car company for property damage.
It is wise to check with your insurance agent and your credit card company before renting a car. You could have coverage that would pay for the property damage while you work to hold the at-fault driver responsible for the property damage.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Rental Car Accident?
If you were not at fault for causing the rental car accident, you could receive compensation for your injuries, financial losses, and non-economic damages. Examples of damages in a rental car accident case include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Reduction in earning capacity
- Emotional and mental distress
- Psychological injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairments and disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Property damage
The amount of compensation you receive for a rental car accident claim depends on the facts of your case. However, the steps you take after the accident can increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your injury claim.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident Involving a Rental Vehicle
The moments after a car crash can be chaotic. It can be difficult to think clearly, especially if you are injured. If possible, taking these steps can help protect your legal rights and best interests:
- Report the accident to the police and wait for assistance
- Gather evidence at the accident scene, including eyewitness information and photographs
- Seek immediate medical assistance to document your injuries
- Report the car accident to the rental car agency and your insurance provider
- Avoid making statements or answering questions about the accident until you speak with a car accident lawyer
Talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after a car crash. Your time to file a car accident claim is limited by law. A personal injury lawyer explains your legal rights and provides advice about your options for recovering money for damages caused by a rental car accident.
Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC
3120 Southwest Fwy Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098