What Happens If I Get in a Car Accident in a Rental Car?
Rental car accidents require dealing with the rental company and their insurance, in addition to the drivers involved in the crash. In some cases, the rental company can be held at fault for damages, such as past and future medical bills, past lost wages, future loss of earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering.
In other cases, you may need to pursue compensation through private insurance or secondary coverage.
What to Do After an Accident in a Rented Vehicle
You must alert any relevant parties that an accident happened—not only to do your duty, but also to protect your claim later. Contact the following:
- The police
- Your insurance company
- The rental company
Acknowledging that a crash happened illustrates responsibility and accountability and establishes a record of the incident. This document can come in handy if you pursue damages for injuries.
You don’t need to give extensive details, but you can offer contact information, the accident date and time, and details about the make and model of the cars involved. We recommend that you consult one of our rental accident attorneys before providing a recorded statement. This is because your words could be used against you or taken out of context.
How Insurance Coverage Plays a Role
If you were in a rental car and struck by another driver, you will most likely deal with that driver’s insurance. They were responsible for the accident and are therefore liable for your costs.
However, if you were struck by a rental, knowing whose coverage applies can be trickier. The typical options are:
- Rental company insurance
- Driver’s private insurance
- Credit card coverage
In Nevada, the minimum required insurance coverage is referred to as “25/50/20” coverage — $25,000 for bodily injury per person (or $50,000 per accident) and $20,000 for property damage, according to the Nevada Division of Insurance.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
For renters without personal auto insurance, you could be entitled to payment through the rental company’s insurance policy. Likewise, some rental car drivers decide to double-up by having their own insurance and the rental company’s coverage. You could receive payment from both policies.
Many drivers opt out of the rental company’s coverage and instead rely on their private insurance. In that case, you could be compensated under the driver’s policy. The credit card used to rent the car may also provide some payment. However, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the coverage is often secondary to regular insurance and will differ from bank to bank.
Holding a Rental Company Liable for Expenses
In some serious crashes, a driver’s insurance may be insufficient to take care of all your expenses. Medical bills alone can cost thousands, while lost income and other damages quickly add up. If this happened to you in Nevada, you may have another option after a rental accident.
Some previous court cases have ruled that both the driver’s private insurance and the rental company’s insurance can be held liable for damages by an injured party. This could occur even if the rental driver opted out of the rental company’s coverage. If the injured party has expenses that are not covered by the driver’s policy, the company may need to pay.
Who Is Liable in a Rental Car Accident?
After an accident, no one wants to admit fault and no insurance company wants to pay a claim. Navigating the confusion over who is liable is one of the benefits of a rental car accident lawyer. We can sort through the evidence to identify who was responsible for the crash.
Possible negligent parties in a rental car accident include:
- Other drivers
- Rental companies
- Car designers
- Auto manufacturers
- Third parties
Sometimes the driver is not at fault at all. If the rental company did not properly maintain the car, leading to equipment failures, they can be held responsible for the accident. Similarly, a malfunction with the car due to a design or manufacturing error could leave designers and manufacturers on the hook for damages.
Third parties may also have caused the crash. Construction site issues can lead to collisions, as well as poor road maintenance or signage on private properties like parking lots. Likewise, municipalities can sometimes be held liable for road conditions that contribute to crashes. However, some laws protect them from liability. So, consult our team for more information.
How to Identify the Negligent Party
To understand what caused your crash and determine who to hold responsible, we gather information from the scene and those involved. Some information we may gather includes:
- Traffic camera footage
- Photographic evidence
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident reconstruction
- Medical records
- Expert analysis
- Vehicle assessment
Armed with this, we can determine who to pursue for your damages, so you don’t have to worry about fighting alone for the care and compensation you deserve.
Receive a Free Consultation About Your Rental Accident with One of Our Skilled Attorneys
If you are unsure what to do after getting in a car accident involving a rental car, call High Stakes Injury Law. Don’t worry about feeling pressured or obligated. Your case review is free.
We provide advice based on over 60 years of combined experience. Call today for more.