If you got into a car accident in a rental car, you should follow the same protocols that you would for any crash: get to safety:
Get medical treatment;
Make a police report, and
Notify your insurance company.
The at-fault party, or parties, has liability for any injuries or damage. However, even if you did not cause the accident, your agreement with the rental car company makes you responsible for any damage to the vehicle.
The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your personal auto insurance will pay for the damages to the rental or, if you do not have auto insurance, the policy you purchased from the rental agency will cover you.
If the negligence of someone else caused the accident, a car accident lawyer can help you pursue a claim for compensation.
How Does Negligence Affect a Car Accident in a Rental Car?
The outcome of any car accident, including one involving a rented vehicle, depends on who had fault, or negligence.
If the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, you can submit a claim to their auto insurance company to compensate you for your injuries and damages to your rental.
If you caused the accident, or if no one had fault, you or your auto insurance are liable for the damages.
How Does Your Personal Auto Insurance Affect a Car Accident in a Rental Car?
Florida requires all personal vehicle owners to carry Personal Injury Protection coverage. If you have auto insurance, your PIP coverage will pay for the damage to the rental and cover 80 percent of your medical bills up to $10,000. You must pay your deductible out of pocket, however.
If you do not have personal auto insurance, you may have to purchase coverage from the rental car company. You cannot legally rent a vehicle in Florida without having insurance.
Some credit card companies offer rental car insurance if you use their card to pay for the rental. It is important that you understand the terms of this coverage before you rely on it.
Does the Rental Car Company Have Liability in an Accident?
Due to Florida’s statutes and case law, any potential liability is avoided by the car rental agency. The agreement you sign when you rent a car also holds the company harmless for any damage you cause.
The one exception to this is if the car rental company was negligence in any way. For example, if the company failed to properly maintain the vehicle, it may create an unsafe situation that could lead to an injury accident.
What Should I Do if I Got into a Car Accident in a Rental Car?
No matter whose vehicle you were driving, your priority after any car crash is to get to safety, call the police, and get emergency medical treatment. If you can do so safely, take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved. Collect information from the other driver(s) but do not make any statements or admit fault.
After any type of crash, you should consider talking to a car accident lawyer to learn what your rights and obligations are under the law.
The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine offers free consultations to help injury accident victims understand their options. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to learn more.