Who is responsible for a rental car in an accident

If you rent a car, who is liable for an accident?

It’s not always the rental company.

If the accident was your fault and you don’t have rental insurance, then the rental company could charge over $2,000 for any damage done to their vehicle.

However, if someone else hits your rental car and it’s their fault, then they should be responsible for paying damages. This isn’t always the case, as many drivers and insurance companies will try to shift the blame onto you.

To ensure you don’t pay for a car accident that wasn’t your fault, hire a car accident lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Our experienced team can handle any insurance company and car rental agency, even those who think they can bully you into paying for something you shouldn’t have to.

Call us today for a free consultation.


Rental Car Insurance

Renting a car is usually cheaper than owning one, but not always. You have to consider rental car insurance as well.

One of the most important rental car insurance tips is that you should know what your rental company’s policy is when it comes to damages and who will be responsible if there are any accidents while you’re driving the rental vehicle.

Learn your options when it comes to renting a car and how these types of insurance can save you money. Understand your policy before signing a rental agreement.

Here are some types of insurance to be aware of:

  • Collision Damage Waiver – The rental car company will not charge you for any damages that the vehicle suffers or if there is a theft. This is an optional policy that will protect you if you have been driving safely and were hit by another driver.
  • Liability Coverage – Property damage and medical expenses are covered for anyone in the vehicle.
  • Personal Accident Insurance – Covers personal injuries for any occupants of the rental car in an accident.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – Covers costs of lost or damaged items inside the rental car.
  • Your Insurance – Your personal existing car insurance may be able to cover your rental car.
  • Credit Card Car Insurance – Some major credit cards include rental car insurance when the car is paid for with their card.


Who is responsible for a rental car in an accident?

The Renter

The renter is responsible for paying for damages in a rental car accident if:

  • They were driving recklessly, thus voiding their insurance waiver
  • They were at fault for the accident
  • They did not purchase rental car insurance and/or don’t have personal car insurance


The Rental Company

The rental car company is responsible for damages if you purchased coverage from them. For example, if you purchased collision damage waiver insurance, they will not charge you for any damage to the vehicle.


The At-Fault Driver

In car accident cases, the at-fault driver is responsible for others’ injuries and damaged property. However, this requires a legal claim filed by a car accident attorney.

Steps to Take if You Have an Accident in a Rental Car

1. Make Sure Everyone Is Safe

Injuries that occur in a rental car accident can be just as bad as those incurred from an accident with your own vehicle. 

There are many steps you should take to ensure safety for both yourself and others around you after a rental car accident.

Check on the people around you, especially children or elderly adults who may need assistance getting out of the car. Make sure there are no serious injuries before moving anyone.

If anyone is in dire need of medical assistance, contact 911 for an ambulance immediately.


2. Contact 911

If you have been in a car accident, you must call the police.

This ensures the safety of all parties involved, helps you get the evidence you need for a car accident claim, and keeps the other party from skipping out on paying you what they owe you in damages.

The police will also help preserve the scene, gather witness statements, and redirect traffic.

Call them immediately after assessing everyone’s safety. Even minor fender benders require police intervention since they often cause $500 in damage, the minimum amount of damage warranting police response.


3. Gather Evidence

The police will create a report about the accident, but you shouldn’t just rely on them. Gather your own evidence from the scene of the car accident to ensure everything is documented.

Take photos of the scene, make notes, speak to witnesses, and gather information about the state of the road.


4. Exchange Information

Exchange insurance information and identification with the other driver. This is a requirement to help you file against their insurance.


5. Call a Car Accident Lawyer

Before you speak to the rental company or your insurance, call your lawyer. They can advise you on how to protect your rights before you accidentally say something that will prevent you from filing a claim for damages.

Your lawyer will also help you file a claim with your rental company and insurance company to ensure you fill out the forms correctly.


Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

The rental car company has a vested interest in not having the rental car involved in an accident.

A rental car is their property, and they want to make sure it doesn’t get damaged because of you.

But what if it does? Who pays for the damages?

You might think that since you are responsible for the rental car while you drive it, then you are also responsible for any damage done to it during an accident. This isn’t always true!

To ensure your rental company won’t try to bill you for something that was not your fault, contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today. We have over 30 years of experience handling these situations on behalf of our clients.

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