Rental cars are a great convenience when you are on vacation in Charleston or when your car breaks down. You can hope a rental car is in good condition and impervious to malfunction.
But what happens if you get into an accident with someone’s rental car in Charleston? Does the driver need to pay the rental company? Or do they have to cover their own damages?
Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney is a lawyer with extensive experience with car accident cases in Charleston. Call us at 843-701-8029 and we can help you pursue compensation for injuries suffered from a rental car accident.
Who is Liable for a Rental Car Accident?
Rental car accidents are basically like any other accident. The at-fault driver will need to pay damages using their own insurance policy.
If you don’t have insurance, you can still rent a car because rental cars are already insured. However, if an accident occurs, you will be responsible for damage to the vehicle. Therefore, it’s advisable to have some amount of insurance if you are going to rent a car.
Can Rental Companies Be Liable for the Accident?
Prior to 2005, plaintiffs could file claims against rental car companies under the theory of “vicarious liability”. However, when the Graves Amendment passed in 2005, it protected rental companies against injury-related claims.
The only exception is when the rental company leases cars that directly contribute to a person’s injury.
It’s up to the rental car to maintain their vehicles and to not rent cars that have mechanical issues and safety defects. If they do, and the driver gets into an accident due to a related malfunction, the company may be liable for damages.
The renter may sue the company if they are thought to be guilty of:
- Negligent maintenance
- Negligent entrustment
- Failure to train or manage employees
Can You Purchase Supplemental Insurance from a Rental Company?
When renting a car, most companies will give you the option to purchase additional insurance that may help to cover damages if you are involved in a crash. This includes:
- Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP): SLP adds to your liability coverage. It is only necessary to purchase SLP if you do not have your own liability insurance.
- Loss Damage Waiver (LDW): Also called a collision damage waiver, this will cover any damage done to the car. It may also cover towing and maintenance fees.
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): Personal accident insurance will pay for injuries incurred by you or a passenger during a rental car accident. It is a good idea to purchase it if you don’t have your own health insurance.
Who Should I Contact After a Rental Car Accident Occurs?
If you get into a rental car accident, you will need to contact your insurance company as you would for any other accident. However, you will also need to get in touch with:
- The rental company: It’s essential to contact the rental company to let them know about accidents as soon as they occur.
- Your credit card rental car insurance: Some credit card issuers provide rental car coverage if you rent your car using their card. The coverage will cover collision and loss damage, but not liability. It will serve as a secondary coverage to fill in the gaps your primary coverage doesn’t cover. If you are counting on your credit card company to cover these damages, they should be alerted as soon as an accident occurs.
- The other driver’s insurance: You will need to reach out to the other driver’s insurance company if they are responsible for the accident. Because the accident is not your fault, you won’t have to pay a deductible for the repairs.
Will My Premiums Go Up If I Was Involved in a Rental Car Accident?
Your premiums will go up after you are involved in a rental car crash if you were responsible for the accident. This will be the case even if you purchased extra coverage from the rental company or are covered through your credit card. According to statistics, insurance premiums can go up by as much as 43% after you are involved in an accident.
You may wonder why your premiums would go up even though your car was not involved in the wreck. This is because the claim will still go through your insurer.
How a Charleston Rental Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
A rental car accident can be confusing. It can be difficult to determine who’s at fault and who is liable for damages.
A lawyer will help establish who is responsible for damages and how much compensation you can get. Damages may include the following:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Emotional pain and suffering
Your Charleston rental car accident lawyer will review your personal and professional situation and the extent of your losses to determine how much you may collect.
Can You Refuse to Pay for Damage on Your Rental Car?
Before renting a vehicle, you must sign a contract that holds you liable for any damage to the car that occurred while you were using it. If you refuse to pay, you may be sued for nonpayment.
Contact a Charleston Rental Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust
Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney can represent you aggressively when you’ve been injured by a rental car in Charleston. Our team’s caring and experienced approach sets us apart.
Let our high level of customer service and winning results speak for themselves. We will fight relentlessly for a positive outcome to your case.
Hurt in a rental car accident? Don’t delay, call Trey today!