Charleston Rental Car Accidents
We rely on rental cars as important means of transportation for work trips and vacations, or in various situations when we cannot use our own vehicles. If the driver owns a personal vehicle, the driver’s own insurance company will typically cover you in the event of a rental car accident.. The may also be insurance coverage through the rental car company. Even though rental car accidents happen every day in Charleston, these can be complicated legal events. If the accident happened while you were on a work trip, the insurance coverage disputes can be even more complex. If you are injured in your own car, but the at-fault driver was in a rental car, the situation can be equally complicated.
Is The Rental Car Company at Fault?
The major rental car companies in the U.S. are Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar and Budget. If the rental car contributed to the accident, and your injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death, they may be liable for your injuries or a loved one’s death. This scenario could arise a few different ways:
- If the rental car company rents a vehicle to someone without a license, and that driver causes an accident, they could be liable.
- If the rental car company fails to perform standard vehicle maintenance, or fails to fix an issue they are aware of, they may be liable for resulting accidents.
- If the rental car company is aware of dangerous conditions in a vehicle, or in their fleet of vehicles and continues to rent out the vehicles, they may be liable. For example, if a major recall is issued for a type of vehicle and the rental car company ignores it.
Rental Car Crash Injuries
Your claim for injuries resulting from an accident involving a rental vehicle will be similar to a claim involving a privately owned vehicle. However, a rental car company may also bear some responsibility or provide additional insurance coverage depending on the circumstances. We know that car accidents cause very serious injuries, like concussions, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and bone fractures. When these injuries are serious, they have tremendous financial consequences and may affect your ability to work and earn a living for a very long time. If you are involved in a collision, it is important to get medical treatment promptly. Even if you are out of state on vacation, do not skip going to the doctor. Your medical records are a part of your personal injury claim.
Types of Coverage That May Apply in a Rental Car Collision
Generally, three types of insurance will apply following a rental car accident:
- The Driver’s car insurance (like Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, Farmers, Wawanesa, or USAA)
- Supplemental coverage from the rental car company (this is an add-on expense that will be offered at the time you rent the vehicle). Insurance companies offer a variety of coverage options. If you are renting a car, it’s important to carefully check what your car insurance policy and credit card company cover. Your rental car company will likely offer you the following add-on options:
- Liability Insurance Supplement
- Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)
- Limited Loss Damage Waiver
- Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
- Partial Damage Waiver
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
- Personal Effects Coverage.
A PAI policy provides accidental death benefits and emergency medical expense benefits to the renter and all passengers in the rental car.
Carefully review how your own insurance works when applied to a rental car contract, and the specific limitations. limitations. For example, your own car insurance may have limitations on how long you can use your insurance policy on longer-term rental. If you don’t have car insurance and your credit card does not provide benefits, you might need to purchase coverage through the rental car company.
Note: Even if you purchased insurance coverage through the rental car company, there could be situations where you voided the contract. For example, if you caused an accident while intoxicated, the LDW will not cover you. Or, if you took the rental car “off-road” and crashed, the LDW and ALI will be void and will not apply. Most rental car companies have language similar to “Even if you buy the damage waiver, you and any authorized driver will remain liable for damage if you violate the terms of the rental agreement.”
Preserving Evidence After a Rental Car Crash
Do not wait. Following an accident, evidence is crucial. When a collision involves your own vehicle, your car may be put in storage or towed to a repair facility where it can be looked at later by an investigator. If your accident involves a rental car, what the rental car company does with the vehicle is largely out of your control, unless you have an attorney. If the car is repaired or destroyed, you may lose the ability to prove how you were harmed. If you contact Charleston rental car accident injury lawyer Mark Bringardner right away, he and his team can help you preserve evidence following a crash.
Get a Free Consultation
We will answer your questions for free in a no-pressure consultation. Contact us today to discuss your potential case with a Charleston rental car accident attorney. If we represent you, there are no fees unless we recover money for you.