Getting in a car accident is bad enough, but you when are involved in a rental car accident, getting your claim processed and receiving fair compensation can seem impossible. A diligent personal injury lawyer can help make the process smoother and help you get paid what you deserve for your accident.
There are several factors that make rental car accidents more difficult to deal with. Below are some of the issues that have to be sorted out.
Driver or Passenger?
If you are the passenger in a rental car accident, one thing you most likely will not have to deal with is being accused of causing the accident. But, if there is any question as to which driver was at fault, you will have the difficult task of either pursuing claims against both drivers until fault is decided, or risk making the wrong choice and only pursuing claims against one driver.
Rental car accidents make this already difficult process harder for passengers by potentially adding another layer of insurance to deal with.
If you are the driver in a rental car accident, you face the prospect of having to argue with the rental car company and the insurance company of the other driver. Depending on your insurance policy and what insurance you purchased when renting the car, you could be facing a lawsuit from the rental car company to pay for the damaged car, even if you are not at fault for the accident.
Separate Rental Car Insurance?
Many people blow off the question about getting extra insurance when renting a car. Many people assume that the rental car company is just trying to gouge them for extra money.
But, many drivers are not certain of what their policy actually covers. Every state has different regulations of the contents of a car insurance policy. Many polices will cover a driver, no matter what car they are driving, but some policies specifically exclude claims made while driving a rental car.
Before renting a car you should check with your insurance agent to make sure you are covered. The rental car company won’t care who is at fault for an accident if you are not adequately insured. They just want the money to fix their car.
Other Sources of Coverage?
Some credit cards, especially ones aimed at frequent travelers, actually come with limited insurance coverage for rental cars. The limits are usually low, and the terms and conditions of these types of policies are very limited.
Most credit cards do not offer this special rental car insurance. Before renting a car, make sure you know what you both your car insurance and your credit card agreement cover.
Another possible source of rental car insurance coverage may come from an umbrella policy you own. These are meant to provide another layer of insurance on top of existing homeowner’s and car insurance policies.
Always check your coverage before you rent a car. The worst thing that can happen is to get into an accident and find out you have no coverage.
Dealing With the Rental Car Company
Rental car companies vary on their level of customer support. But, once you get into an accident with one of their vehicles, even if the accident isn’t your fault, the rental car company will no longer be treating you like a customer. At best you will just be a small problem, at worse you will be seen as a debtor who owes the company hundreds or thousands of dollars.
You may first run into trouble when trying to return the car. You may be asked to pay for the damage to the car right then. If you do have insurance coverage, you will have to submit proof that you filed a claim with your insurance company and fill out more forms.
Fighting a Case Far Away From Home
Chances are you rented a car because you were away form home. If you have a lengthy insurance claims process, or need to hire a lawyer to fight your case, you will have to deal with these issues while you are back home, hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Most personal injury lawyers will be able to deal with your case for you, avoiding you having to return to the area of the accident. But, if your case goes to trial, or even in some cases if you have to deposed, you will need to return to the area where the rental car accident occurred.
This will add time and expense to the process.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Process
On top of all the special issues involved in a rental car accident, you also have to go through the normal motor vehicle accident claims process with your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver.
The complexity of the normal process combined with the extra issues present in rental car accidents make it advisable for people to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.