Renting an automobile can be a genuine convenience for a vacation, business trip, or when your own vehicle is in the shop for repairs. But what can happen if you’re involved in a collision while you’re driving a rental car? And how does the insurance work if you’re injured in a rental? What can an Idaho auto accidents lawyer do to help?
You probably already know that if you are involved in a traffic accident, you need to summon medical help and call the police at once. You also need to exchange personal contact information and insurance coverage information with the other driver or drivers involved in the collision.
WHAT MAKES ACCIDENTS IN RENTAL VEHICLES DIFFERENT?
However, if you are driving a rental vehicle when a traffic accident happens, there are several additional steps that you’ll need to take.
After the police tell you that you may leave the accident scene, you’ll need to call the rental car company at once and inform them about the accident. You will also need to contact your own automobile insurance company to tell them that you’ve been in an accident.
When you make these contacts, be brief. Share only the facts: where and when the accident happened and what vehicles were involved. Make no further statement about the accident. Until you are able to meet with an attorney, admit nothing, agree to nothing, and sign nothing.
Resolving an accident that happens while you’re driving a rental vehicle will involve determining which driver was at-fault and which insurance policy will pay for the damages. In some cases, that’s easy, but in other cases, it can be quite difficult to resolve these questions.
SHOULD YOU PURCHASE EXTRA COVERAGE FOR A RENTAL CAR?
Here is a brief look at the typical insurance coverage options that are offered by car rental companies and a comparison of those options against the insurance coverage that you already carry for your own vehicle.
Coverage based on your own policy may apply if you use a rental for non-business, personal reasons, but different rules may apply if you use a rental car for business. Ask your auto insurer or your employer for the insurance details if you use a rental for business reasons.
WHAT CRASH AND THEFT COVERAGE WILL YOU NEED FOR A RENTAL?
Most car rental companies offer a “loss-damage” waiver (also referred to as a “collision damage” waiver), which covers you for damage to a rental or its theft. The “loss-damage” waiver is not actually insurance – it’s simply an agreement that you won’t be held liable if the vehicle is damaged or stolen.
However, if your own auto insurance policy already provides for collision and comprehensive coverage, the policy usually extends to rental vehicles, although you would still have to pay a deductible. A full review and understanding of the provisions and terms of your own policy is imperative.
Depending on the rental car company and the specific additional insurance coverage you select, if any, a rental car company’s supplemental insurance coverage will in most cases cost from about $10 a day to about $30 a day.
WHAT ABOUT COVERAGE FOR INJURIES – FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS?
Car rental companies offer supplemental liability protection that pays for damage you may do to vehicles or other property. Although your own liability insurance may cover you while you drive a rental, if you have only minimum liability insurance, consider buying the supplemental coverage.
Car rental companies also offer personal accident coverage for your medical expenses – and your passengers’ medical expenses – if you’re driving the rental and there’s an accident. This personal accident insurance coverage usually includes ambulance, medical, and death benefits.
However, it’s coverage that is redundant if you already have health coverage, and if you have adequate life insurance, you don’t need the death benefits. Especially if you have you have PIP or MedPay coverage, you will not need personal accident coverage from the car rental company.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT AN IDAHO CAR ACCIDENT LAW FIRM?
If you’re injured in traffic while you are driving a rental vehicle in Idaho, and you are not the at-fault driver, the case is handled like any other personal injury case. After you’ve been examined and treated, arrange at once to speak to an experienced auto collision attorney.
Make absolutely certain that you are adequately covered whenever you get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle. If a negligent motorist injures you in or near Coeur d’Alene – or anywhere else in Idaho – you must speak right away to a good personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer will review the details of your accident and injury and explain your options, which may include filing a personal injury claim. If you file a claim, your attorney will negotiate for the best possible settlement, but if no agreement is possible, you may take your case to trial.
WHAT IS AN INJURED VICTIM OF NEGLIGENCE ENTITLED TO?
In Idaho, an injured victim of negligence is entitled by law to full compensation for past and future medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and all related damages and losses arising from an accident caused by another person’s negligence.
What you’ve just read is a general overview that applies to any driver who rents a vehicle in Idaho. But every collision is different, so if you’re injured in a collision, you’ll need personalized legal advice from an experienced Coeur d’Alene car crash lawyer.
It’s important to put a personal injury attorney on your case as quickly as possible after a negligent driver injures you in Idaho. The state imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, but if you’re injured, you can’t wait two years or even two weeks. Moreover, negligence of government employees means that you must file a tort claim notice within 180 days of the accident.
WHAT WILL IT COST TO SEEK JUSTICE AND EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS?
You’ll need to contact an attorney at once. Your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer is free, and there’s no obligation.
If you bring a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your medical bills and other damages, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until your attorney obtains a settlement or a judgment on your behalf. If your injury keeps you from working, and bills are piling up, an attorney can help.
The injured victims of negligence in Idaho have the right to compensation, and they have the right to an attorney’s representation. If you’ve been injured in this state by another person’s negligence, exercise your rights. Your future will depend on it.