The Car Rental industry is worth $98.4 Billion in 2021 across the globe. It is projected to further increase to $126.6 Billion in 2028. Although majority of the transactions go smoothly, there’s still a chance of getting involved in car accidents. The 2022 data shows that Michigan traffic fatalities are still alarmingly high.
Understanding Rental Car Accidents
When it comes to rental car accidents, you may check if you can be covered by your credit card, own auto insurance or the car rental’s insurance policy. However, this may be insufficient or you may not be covered at all depending on the circumstances.
Rental companies limit their liability to the accident by adding regulations in the rental agreement. This may include the deadline and requirements on informing the company about the accident.
The things you do after the accident are crucial and can affect your claim. You may need to seek the help of an accident lawyer to know your legal options in such cases.
Steps to Take After a Rental Car Accident
A rental car accident must be treated just like any other accident you have been in. Make sure to do the following:
Seek medical attention: Check yourself, and if you are able to move, check on other people at the scene. Contact emergency services to get medical attention for any noted injuries.
Secure the car: You must take care of the car during the rental period. Get roadside assistance if it’s impossible to drive so that it can be towed to the rental company.
Call the police: People think that the police is not needed if they only had minor injuries. However, this is required in some states. You will also find it helpful to have a police report for documentation of the accident.
Gather evidence: Talk to the people involved in the accident to collect evidence such as contact details and insurance information. Get the contact, name and badge number once law enforcement arrives.
Inform the rental company: Write an accident report containing information on what happened. It should include who were involved, details about the crash, and insurance information. A rental car accident attorney can help to ensure no important details are left out.
Why Rental Cars Complicate Matters in a Personal Injury Claim
There are several considerations before you can make a rental car accident claim such as:
- Person responsible for the damages
Every state has a minimum set of requirements for insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance when renting a vehicle, you may be liable for any damages to the vehicle.
On the other hand, an existing insurance policy can be transferred across other vehicles. Make sure to review the details of the insurance coverage. Some might only cover damage to other people’s property, but not to the rental car itself.
- Car rental company responsibilities
The state may also have requirements related to the car rental company’s responsibilities. Not all cars in Michigan were rented for Michigan, which may complicate matters. An experienced attorney can help sort this out.
- Timing of insurance policy
The car rental company may get insurance to comply with the minimum requirements of the state they operate in. However, this may not be used until the driver at fault consumes all of his insurance coverage first.
What Kinds of Insurance Cover Rental Car Accidents?
There are different types of insurance policies that can provide coverage for rental car crash:
The Rental Car Driver’s Auto Insurance
Normally the rental car insurance has the same coverages and deductibles as compared to a personal car. Check with the insurance provider if there are limitations. For example, renting in a foreign country may not be covered.
You can also opt to use the rental car company’s insurance. There are four types to choose from:
- Collision damage waiver
- Personal accident insurance
- Personal effects insurance
- Supplemental liability insurance
- Car Rental Insurance from credit card companies
This usually only covers theft or damage to the rental car. Liability coverage is not included, which means that there will be no compensation if the accident caused injuries to the victim.
Can the Car Rental Company Be Held Liable for Damages?
Car accident victims may try to make claims against the rental car company when accidents occur. The problem is determining liability.
In 2005, the Graves Amendment became part of the federal highway bill. It clarified that the car rental company can’t be responsible for injuries that their customers caused. It must first be proven that they contributed to the injuries.
When Is the Rental Car Company Negligent?
To make the rental car company liable, the at fault driver must prove that the company was in some way negligent such as:
- Not performing proper maintenance to the rental car
- Lack of oversight among the employees
- Allowing a driver to use the car even if he’s not properly qualified
- Failure to provide training to the employees
If there is not sufficient proof to prove any of the above, the driver’s insurance company should cover the victim’s damages. This is why it’s a good idea to get additional insurance when hiring a car in Michigan.
What is Personal Injury Protection?
Personal Injury Protection, also known as personal accident insurance is a part of basic auto insurance policy. It pays all necessary and reasonable medical costs for your lifetime up to the maximum liability coverage chosen in the policy.
There are additional limitations on the price for attendant care. This is the care given at home to assist you with daily activities during the recovery period after the accident. Discuss with your own insurance company the details of your policy to better understand the benefits of personal injury protection.
What Damages can you recover?
Michigan residents don’t need to break the bank to pay for medical costs. The state has a no-fault law wherein damages from rental car accidents is covered no matter who’s at fault. A no-fault insurance policy will cover medical expenses or lost wages incurred after the accident.
Unfortunately, a no-fault policy doesn’t cover property damage or theft. In this case, a collision damage is required.
If you were in a rental car and got hit by another driver, their liability insurance coverage should be able to pay for medical bills and lost wages.
Why You Need a Michigan Rental Car Accident Lawyer
Rental car accidents are quite complicated, trying to face the aftermath alone can be overwhelming. An experienced personal injury lawyer can lighten your burden by helping with the following tasks:
- Search for witnesses and evidence to prove negligence of the driver at fault
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Representation in court to get compensation for property damage
Michigan being a no-fault state can make your case quite complicated. The Clark Law Office is up for the challenge of making sure your rights are well-protected. Book a free consultation with our dedicated car accident attorneys today.