What If I Got into a Car Accident in a Rental Car?

Dealing with a rental car accident might be the last thing on your mind when you’re on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. While handling an accident in a rental car is similar to what you’d do if had a collision in your own vehicle, it’s important to follow the proper protocol to avoid confusion and unnecessary paperwork.

Before you do anything else, make sure that everyone in the vehicle is ok. Check the surrounding scene and any other cars involved. If someone is hurt, call 911 immediately. If there’s a danger of explosion, clear the area. Set up emergency flares if necessary or call the police to help redirect traffic. As soon as you’ve determined that the scene is safe, exchange contact and insurance information with any other parties involved and take pictures of the damage incurred. Try not to mention that you’re driving a rental car, as some people may try to take advantage of the situation. Leave the scene as soon as it is safe to do so. So far, these are the same steps you’d take if you were driving your own vehicle. However, with a rental, you need to deal with a bit of additional paperwork. As soon as possible, call your car rental company and inform them of the accident. There’s often a sticker with an emergency number located inside the glove box.

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.

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. Let the personal injury attorneys at Suarez & Montero review the circumstances of your case and discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights.

Contact us today at 786 Lawyers for a FREE consultation!

Jaime Suarez

An experienced legal personal injury defense professional in Miami, who is dedicated to helping accident victims with personal injury cases involving automobile accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, slip and fall accidents, prescription errors, wrongful death, and accidents at work.