The steps you take after getting into a car accident in a rental car may be the same as what you do after an accident in your own vehicle. The primary difference is that you may not need money for vehicle repairs. However, you may still have medical bills, lost income, and other damages that entitle you to a financial recovery.
The fact that you were in a rental car can complicate your case. Having a Garden City car accident attorney handle your claim or lawsuit will spare you from any case-related stress, and your lawyer will work to recover the compensation you deserve.
Who Pays the Cost of a Rental Car Accident?
The unique details of your rental car accident will determine who is financially responsible for your damages. Liable parties may include:
Insurance companies will certainly be involved in your case. Almost every state requires motorists to purchase auto insurance and rental car companies must also comply with insurance-specific laws.
As a rental car driver, your own auto insurance may apply. Rental car companies often offer additional insurance and waivers requiring the rental company to cover any damage you cause to its vehicle.
An attorney will seek all the compensation you deserve from insurers obligated to pay for your losses.
Keep in mind coverage for medical expenses and lost wages are sought from No-Fault coverage, which typically will come from the coverage on the rental vehicle.
The At-Fault Motorist
An at-fault motorist’s insurer may be responsible for your losses. However, the driver may be personally liable if the insurance company does not agree to cover your damages.
You can hold a motorist liable because they were:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- In violation of traffic signals (including stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights)
- Engaged in any other action (or failure to act) that contributed to your rental car accident
Your lawyer will gather all evidence that helps prove another motorist caused your accident.
The Rental Car Company
A rental car company is responsible for their own negligence contributing to an accident.
Such negligence can include:
- Purchasing unsafe vehicles to be part of their fleet
- Failing to hire qualified employees, especially automotive technicians responsible for the safety of rental vehicles
- Failing to service rental vehicles regularly
- Failing to replace defective parts, including but not limited to brakes and tires
- Failing to maintain adequate insurance coverage
You may need to sue a rental car company whose negligence contributed to your accident.
A Vehicle Manufacturer
If your rental car accident involves a defective vehicle, the manufacturer or seller may be financially responsible for your damages. The nature and cause of the defect will determine who covers the cost of the accident.
The City in Which the Rental Car Accident Happened
Some rental car accidents result from dangerous driving conditions, including:
- Traffic signals that are not working
- Downed or absent signage (such as a stop sign that has fallen)
- Uneven driving surfaces
- Work crews positioned too close to the roadway
- Barriers, debris, or other hazards in or near the road
- Inadequate lighting
Municipalities are constantly responsible for ensuring safe driving conditions, and failures in this respect can cause rental car accidents. Suing a government entity comes with a quicker filing deadline, so do not wait to hire an attorney.
A Rental Car Accident Lawyer Will Demand Fair Compensation from Liable Parties
Your attorney will investigate your car accident to determine who must pay for your accident-related damages. Once they know who is liable, your attorney will calculate the total cost of your damages.
The two primary ways to secure compensation for a rental car accident are:
- Insurance claims
Your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement, as settling is the most efficient way to resolve your case. However, a rental car accident lawyer will also be ready to file a lawsuit and go to trial if necessary.
Steps Your Lawyer Will Take to Prepare for Settlement Negotiations (or Trial)
Before settlement negotiations occur, your lawyer will ensure your case is as strong as possible.
Steps leading to settlement negotiations or trial typically include:
- Acquiring all available evidence: Specifically, your lawyer will seek out any evidence that helps prove who caused your accident.
- Establishing liability: Your attorney will identify liable parties based on witness accounts, video footage, statements from those involved in the accident, and any other relevant evidence.
- Detailing damages: Proof of your damages will be key to your lawyer’s case. Images of your injuries, medical bills, expert testimony, evidence of past income, and invoices for replacing damaged property may be important to your case.
- Hiring experts: Car accident lawyers rely on experts to provide services the firm cannot perform (or cannot perform as well as the expert). For instance, an expert in crash dynamics may digitally recreate your accident. An expert’s opinion can also add credibility to your case, so your lawyer may get expert testimony about fault, injuries, damages, or other key details.
- Calculating the cost of economic and non-economic damages: The more serious your injuries are, the more costly your medical and other damages. Your attorney will weigh both your economic damages (such as lost income) and non-economic damages (like pain and suffering) to determine the value of a fair settlement.
- Preparing for settlement talks: Your lawyer will tie together all evidence and documentation of your damages and build strong arguments. Ultimately, your lawyer will need to convince liable parties to pay you fairly, so preparing arguments ahead of time cannot be more important.
Your lawyer’s experience with these responsibilities may be a compelling reason to hire them. With a lawyer handling your case, you won’t fly blind. Your attorney will prepare for the challenges that inevitably arise when seeking compensation for a rental car accident.
Damages Your Attorney Will Seek Compensation For After a Rental Car Accident
The goal of your case is to obtain a settlement or verdict that covers your damages. Therefore, your lawyer will be laser-focused on your accident-related damages, which may include:
The physical effects of a car accident may require you to undergo:
- Emergency services
- Imaging services
- A hospital stay
- Cosmetic procedures
- Rehab services
- Other medical services
You should seek more medical attention rather than less. Your health is too important, and your lawyer will work to ensure you receive compensation for all accident-related medical care.
Pain and Suffering
Victims of rental car accidents may suffer a range of non-economic damages, many of which may qualify as pain and suffering. Physical pain, lost quality of life, emotional and psychological distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are examples of pain and suffering.
Even if your own vehicle is not damaged (because you were in a rental car), your phone, clothing, and other personal items may have been damaged during the accident. Your lawyer will demand that liable parties cover the cost of repairing or replacing these items.
Your attorney will measure the cost of your accident-related professional damages, which may include:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Lost performance bonuses
- Lost progress toward promotions
- Psychological distress caused by financial pressure and your inability to work
- Lost benefits
Professional damages can be temporary or permanent, and your lawyer will include your professional damages within their settlement demands.
You Can Hire an Attorney After Losing a Loved One from Accident-Related Injuries
If your loved one passes away from injuries suffered during a rental car accident, your physical and psychological health should be the priority. However, you may also want justice and a fair financial recovery for the tragic loss you have endured.
A fatal car accident attorney will learn about who your loved one was and what their passing has cost you.
Your recoverable damages may include:
- Pain and suffering (both yours and any distress the decedent may have suffered because of the accident)
- The cost of grief counseling, medications, and other forms of treatment
- Funeral costs
- Loss of a decedent’s non-economic value
- Loss of the decedent’s income, household services, and other forms of financial support
There is no more dreaded outcome to a rental car accident than a victim’s death. The least you deserve for the loss of a loved one is a financial recovery for economic and non-economic damages.
Can I Afford a Rental Car Accident Lawyer?
Yes, everyone can afford to hire a lawyer after a rental car accident. Because of a fee structure known as a contingency fee, you:
- Will not have to pay your lawyer any upfront or out-of-pocket compensation
- Will agree to grant the law firm a percentage of any settlement or verdict it obtains for you
The law firm will have a direct financial incentive to obtain compensation for you. If you win, your law firm wins.
What if I Am Accused of Causing the Accident?
If you face allegations that you caused the accident, the rental car company may demand that you cover the cost of vehicle repairs. Even if you have insurance that will cover such damages, you should never accept fault without a fight.
If you must pay for an accident you didn’t cause, you may face out-of-pocket costs and rising insurance premiums. A car accident lawyer may be able to demonstrate you should not be liable for the accident and damages.
Depending on the details of your collision, your lawyer will work to:
Prove That You Are Not at Fault at All
If you have been falsely accused of causing the accident, your attorney will gather all evidence that proves who is at fault.
Proving That You Share Fault (and Are Less at Fault Than Another Party)
Many state statutes allow you to seek compensation even if you are partially at fault for a collision. If you share fault for a collision, your lawyer will aim to prove that you are less responsible for the collision than another liable party.
As an example, consider a scenario where:
- You are driving a vehicle with tires that probably need to be replaced
- You strike a massive pothole, causing your tire to blow and redirecting your vehicle into another motor vehicle
In this case, you may face blame for failing to replace worn tires. However, a municipality may bear even more fault due to the dangerous pothole. You can still secure substantial compensation in such scenarios.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible
There is no time to wait after a rental car accident. Between the filing deadline and the need to secure evidence, your lawyer will want to start your case as soon as possible. You must take the first step in finding the right law firm to represent you.