Summer is well on its way, which means we’re approaching road trip season. Whether you’re taking your own car on the road or flying into another city where you’ll be renting a car, the chances that you’ll be involved in a car accident with a rental car tend to increase over the summer.
Whether you’re in the rental car or the other driver is in the rental car, the basic rules of the road still apply: the driver who caused the accident is responsible for covering all damages, including any medical bills if one or more people were injured in the car crash. If you’re driving a rental car, you have a few insurance options:
- Your regular insurance could cover the rental car while you’re driving it;
- You can buy car insurance through the rental company (although this usually involves just the bare minimum of coverage, which means it will max out soon if you have to rely on it in a crash);
- The credit card used to pay for the car rental can also provide insurance on the rental car (although, again, it’s usually minimal coverage, often covering just collision insurance, which will pay for damages to one or both cars, but won’t cover medical costs, lost income, or pain and suffering); or
- If the driver who caused the accident is not the one driving a rental car, then their normal car insurance will pay for the damages, up to their policy’s limit.
In some cases, you might be able to combine some of these coverage options if one policy is not enough to cover the damages of the car crash – medical bills in particular have a tendency to skyrocket, especially when injuries are severe.
Finally, if you are not at fault for the accident, but the driver who is doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of the accident, then your insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured coverage will kick in (assuming you have uninsured/underinsured coverage through your vehicle insurance provider).
There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if the crash was caused by a malfunction of the rental car because the rental company failed to properly maintain the vehicle, then the rental company would be responsible for reimbursing everyone involved for all damages, including replacing or repairing the rental car, repairing the other car, as well as all medical bills if injuries were sustained as a result of the crash.
But that only holds if you can prove the rental company was negligent in caring for the vehicle and that the defect directly caused the accident, or made the effects of the car crash worse. You also need to be able to prove that the rental company knew about the defect and was negligent in addressing the issue, which can be difficult to prove. Often it comes down to what you say vs. what the rental company says.
Regardless of whether you were at fault, if you or a loved one sustained an injury in a car crash involving a rental car, you need a competent personal injury attorney on your side. The lawyers at Lieser Law Firm will represent your interests and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
f you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.