There are several matters of complexity in rental car accidents, which you must deal with before receiving due justice. However, a lawyer who handles rental car accidents can help you.
Call Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800 for your free and confidential case review today.
What to Do After the Accident
If you are not seriously injured, always remember to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties in the car crash. It may help to call 9-1-1, especially if the car accident and resultant damage/injuries are serious.
Of course, all this may not be possible if you or your loved one was seriously injured. In that case, you should first seek medical attention and only pursue further action after you/they are in stable condition. If you can, collect the eyewitnesses’ contact information. However, this should not be a priority unless you and your vehicle’s occupants are stable.
It is also critical to reach out to the rental car company and inform them about the accident. Please take note of the instructions the company’s representative gives and follow them. Be sure to speak with a Buffalo rental car accident lawyer who can help you navigate the ensuing process for fair compensation.
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The Role of Insurance After a Rental Car Accident
Many drivers assume that they can use their private insurance coverage if involved in a rental car accident. Before renting a car, it is critical to check whether your plan protects you in the event of an accident. Some insurers do provide rental car coverage, but this is usually an add-on above the available basic plans.
This insurance coverage may be provided in one of two ways:
- Collision coverage: Applies to any damage to your car after a crash with a rental car, including the cost of repair or replacement
- Liability coverage: Covers injuries and property damage sustained by another person if you are at fault for a car accident
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What You Need to Know About a Collision Damage Waiver
When renting a car, most companies will ask whether your personal car insurance includes rental coverage. They will offer a “collision damage waiver” at an additional fee, which covers the damages that occur to a rental car. More details can be found from the New York State Department Financial Services (DFS).
If you sign this waiver, you will not have to cover the cost of repair or replacement in the event of a car accident. However, you are still liable for any bodily injury to another person if you were at-fault for a car accident.
Types of Applicable Coverage for Rental Car Accidents
As a renter, there might be multiple insurance plans that cover an accident should you be involved in one. These include:
- The rental car company’s insurance
- Your no-fault insurance
- Credit card rental insurance
- The other party’s bodily injury insurance
The circumstances of your case determine which insurance plan shall be used to reimburse you and other parties for property damage and bodily injury. In some cases, it is possible to supplement your personal insurance with the rental company’s coverage.
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Determining Liability for Rental Car Accidents
The 2005 Graves Amendment Act nullified all statewide statutes regarding rental car companies’ liability in accidents caused by renters. Therefore, you cannot file a personal injury claim against the rental company simply because they own the vehicle involved in an accident (vicarious liability).
However, you can still sue the rental company if their negligent action or inaction led to your accident—possibly in the vehicle maintenance or renting process. In these cases, you can assert that the other party’s failure to maintain the vehicle led to the accident—and your injuries. You may also assert that the rental company rented their vehicle to a dangerous driver (easily verified with background checks).
It is critical to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your rental car accident. At Morelli Law Firm, we handle all forms of rental car accidents. Our Buffalo rental car accident lawyer can help you navigate your case’s complexities. Call (212) 751-9800 to learn more.
A Rental Car Accident Due to Another Party’s Negligence
If you were hurt in a rental car crash mainly through another party’s fault, it is possible to claim compensation from this driver. It is critical to establish fault if a rental car accident happens. Otherwise, the rental car company could try to hold you liable for vehicle repairs or replacement.
Your contract may state that you should pay for damages even before settling your claim with the at-fault party. Only by establishing the other party’s fault can you claim a reimbursement from the rental company once the claim is settled.
Ensure that you do not leave an accident scene until the police arrive, and a police report is filed. The only exception is where you need urgent medical attention. Even then, if conscious, you can ask emergency personnel to get the contact information of the at-fault party (and of any witnesses to the crash).
With a lawyer by your side, you may claim various damages, such as:
- Medical expenses and cost of rehabilitation
- Cost of medical equipment or future medication
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Future loss of wages
Most often, the rental car company will want to escape liability for your injuries and damages. This is why it is critical to collect as much evidence as possible to show who was culpable in the moments leading to the crash. Consulting an attorney can shed much-needed light on the gray areas.
Entrust Your Case to a Buffalo Rental Car Accident Lawyer at Morelli Law Firm
As you can see, there is nothing easy or straightforward about accidents involving rental cars. Still, engaging legal help early in the process can eliminate the hurdles that many victims of rental car accidents face when they take on their cases alone. These can include becoming confused by the legal process or intimidated by pushy claims adjusters.
If you or your loved one was injured in a rental car accident in Buffalo or around New York State, a lawyer is at your service. Reach out to a representative of the Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800.