Who Covers Damages in a Rental Car Accident?

learn what to do after a rental car accident

Being in a car accident is bad enough, but the situation appears a thousand times worse if the other driver says that they are driving a rental car. You start wondering: who will actually pay my damages after a rental car accident? Fortunately, an experienced Fairburn car accident lawyer at The Weinstein Firm has solutions for the most complex claims.

In this article, we will outline what you may expect during a car crash case involving a rental car.

The First Key Factor Affecting the Claim: Who Was Driving the Rental Car?

When rental companies sign agreements, they include the details of the primary person renting the car and any additional driver who has the right to drive the rental car. Anyone else behind the wheel is not considered by the rental company as entitled to do so.

Therefore, even if the driver who rented the car purchased additional insurance coverage for collision from the rent-a-car company, you may not be able to file a claim against it. Instead, you will have to pursue your claim directly against the actual driver’s auto liability policy.

The Second Important Consideration: Was the Driver from a Different State?

Most people who need a rental car come from a different city for business or vacation. But many of them are not just from another city, but also from another state. This aspect may complicate matters in terms of identifying and holding the driver liable.

Naturally, you also wonder whether they carry sufficient insurance to cover your damages. Each state has its specific minimum coverage amounts. In Georgia, drivers must carry:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

So, what happens if the driver is obliged to carry just $15,000 insurance coverage for bodily injury in their state? In this case, the so-called broadening clause kicks in. The driver’s insurance company is obliged to pay the minimum coverage amounts set by Georgia laws.

Steps to Take after a Rental Car Accident

As you can see, a car accident claim involving a rental car driver is more complex than other situations. And this is why, before you consult with a Fairburn car accident lawyer, you should remember to follow these specific steps, beside making sure that you collect evidence and get medical attention:

find out what to do if you were hit by a driver in a rented car

Obtain Information about the Rental Agreement

Once you have established that the driver is behind the wheel of a rental car, ask them to show the rental agreement. The driver is obliged to carry it with them all the time to show to police officers in lieu of car registration documents.

Take photos of all the pages of this agreement with your mobile phone to show to a lawyer. You may not understand all the terms, but an experienced attorney will know what type of coverage is included in the agreement.

Get the Driver’s Contact and Insurance Information

It is crucial to get a name, address and phone number, as well as insurance policy details from the other driver. As explained above, they most likely reside in another city or a different U.S. state.

Report the Accident to the Police and the Rent-a-Car Company

You know that you must report the crash to the police. However, after a rental car accident, you should also contact the rental company and report the incident. Although their client is obliged by the agreement to do so, some drivers may choose not to do so.

They may come up with a different story and, even if you are eligible to file a claim under the rental insurance terms, may find it difficult to do it.

Can the Car Rental Company Be Liable for My Damages?

Many accident victims wonder if they may avoid the hassle of pursuing the driver by filing a lawsuit against the rental car company. In most cases, the answer is no. The only exception is covered by a federal law which prohibits businesses from offering for rent vehicles that were recalled by the manufacturer and were not repaired.

This law is applicable everywhere in the U.S. to any rental company with a fleet of more than 35 vehicles.

Contact an Experienced Fairburn Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance!

No matter how complex your case may appear, The Weinstein Firm can help you get compensation if you have a valid claim.

If you were injured in a rental car accident, call us today to schedule a free case review with an experienced Fairburn car accident lawyer at 770-HELP-NOW!

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