Whether on a business trip or a vacation, the last thing you want to have to worry about is handling repercussions from an accident in a rental car. Are you responsible for the damages? Who is liable for the accident? Settling claims is a complex process by nature. Settling claims when a rental car is involved can get even more complicated.
Do You Need Rental Insurance Coverage?
You’re probably familiar with being offered extra insurance by the agent at a rental car counter. This is intended to provide coverage if you happen to be in an accident while you are using the rental. Is this something you should purchase?
This insurance is usually optional, although in some areas it is mandatory. The best thing you can do is check with your own insurance company to make sure that your own policy covers you if you are driving a different vehicle.
Your Responsibilities as a Renter
Keep in mind that as a renter, you are responsible for loss or damage to the rented vehicle. You are expected to return the vehicle in the same condition it was in when you rented it.
If there is any damage to the vehicle, whether from an accident with another driver or due to an error in judgment on your part, such as backing into a tree, there are three possible sources of coverage for this damage:
- Rental insurance
- Your own auto insurance policy
- The credit card you used to pay for the rental may have car rental insurance as part of the credit card agreement
What if You Are Hit by a Rental Car?
Another possible scenario is that you could be hit by someone who is driving a rental car. If that driver was negligent, it’s not unreasonable for you to expect to be compensated.
Since rental car agencies will require the driver to have some form of insurance, you will probably be able to obtain compensation from the driver’s personal insurance. If he or she chose to buy the rental insurance, you may also be able to obtain some compensation from that policy as well.
Can You Sue the Rental Car Company?
Most of the time, liability for accidents involving a rental car rests on the shoulders of the driver of the rental car. In rare cases, it may be possible to sue the rental car company if there were defects in the vehicle that the rental car company was aware of but failed to fix, and those defects can be shown to have caused the accident or contributed to it.
Another possible option for suing the rental car company would occur if they rented to a driver whose license was revoked or who didn’t have a valid license. If they rented to this type of driver, they may be held liable if an accident happened.
If You’re Injured in a Rental Car Accident
If you sustain an injury in an accident with or while driving a rental car, talk to an attorney in the field of personal injury law to make sure you understand all of your rights. Get in touch with Taos Injury Lawyers by filling out the form on this page and one of our lawyers will contact you to find out what happened and to see how we can help.