Chicago Rental Car Accident Lawyer
Over 6.75 million car accidents happen in the US each year, and a significant percentage of these happen with rental cars. Being a victim of any type of accident can be traumatic, even with minor damages and injuries. The experience is even more nerve-racking if you’re a victim of a rental car accident.
People in an accident involving rental vehicles wonder how they can collect the compensation they deserve. Whose insurance policy should be used to cover the personal injury? While every state in the US requires every driver to have minimum coverage, claiming compensation from an insurance company for rental auto accidents can be difficult.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyer represent people injured in Chicago car accidents involving rented cars. Complete the connect form or call (888) 424-5757 to receive a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney. There is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you.
When to Sue a Rental Car Company
At the least, a person hit by a rental car driver can take action against the other motorist, being the person who is directly involved in the incident.
However, victims of rented car accidents cannot simply sue a rental agency. According to the Graves Amendment, a rental agency is not liable for an accident caused by negligent car rental drivers despite the company’s automobile ownership.
The Graves Amendment does not protect rental agencies from lawsuits resulting from their negligence. For example, a victim of a rental automobile can sue a rental car agency for accidents resulting from the agency’s failure to maintain the vehicle’s brakes.
In addition, these agencies are usually bound by rules that apply across the US. For example, agencies should not allow anyone under 21 to use their vehicles.
When Young Drivers Are Involved
Younger drivers pose higher risks to pedestrians and motorists, especially those under 21 who lack the necessary driving skills and may not have the financial capacity to cover insurance claims.
The mandate also precludes rental agencies from renting their cars to individuals who do not have a valid driver’s license and insurance. If a car hire agency allows a minor to rent a car, the company can be held responsible for the untoward incident.
Therefore, rental auto accident victims can sue the rental agency if the latter fails to comply with the rules and laws governing rental car agencies.
How to Prove Liability of Rental Car Companies in Accidents Claims
A rental agency can be held responsible for damages and injuries caused due to their negligence. They are liable in an accident when the following factors are present:
- There was a breach of duty when negligence on the part of the rental agency caused the accident.
- The accident harmed the claimant, and this would not have happened if the rental agency had diligently performed its duty of care.
An example of these two conditions is when a rental company releases a car to a 17-year-old driver. The rental company has the duty of care to release cars only to drivers who are not at risk.
The company breached this duty of care by releasing the automobile to the minor. If the rental car driver has an accident, the victim can file a personal injury case against the self-drive agency.
That being said, proving negligence on the part of the rental car company can be rather challenging. If you’re a victim of a rental car accident, call us today for a free consultation.
What to Do When Hit by Someone Driving a Rental Car
Rental car accidents can happen even to the most cautious person. If you’re in a hire car accident, you should act the same way as you would in any car accident.
Here are the things to do immediately in a rental car crash:
- Exchange contact and insurance details with the other motorist and anybody else caught up in the collision. Use a camera to take a photo of the rental documents to know the whereabouts of the auto rental company.
This information is essential should the aggrieved party file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or the car rental agency.
Some of the information to take down includes:
- Full name of the other motorist
- Driver’s license number
- Car hire company name
- Contact information of the motorist’s insurer
- Call the police. After the accident, a trained professional has to investigate the incident. The police will gather evidence at the scene and interview the victim, the other motorist, and any witnesses before preparing a police report.
The police report typically includes:
- Details of the incident and the people, vehicles, and properties caught up in the event
- Accounts of the events based on interviews with motorists, passengers, and witnesses
- Drawn illustration of the accident to describe to location and point of collision
- Officer’s findings of violations of traffic rules
- The report may also include the officer’s conclusions about how the accident might have occurred. Interested parties can obtain a copy of the police report by requesting a copy from the local law enforcement agency that drafted it.
- Review the agreement between the renter and rental vehicle company. Many people believe that determining liability in many incidents works much the same as other automobile accidents.
However, an automobile accident involving rental automobiles can be complicated. For this reason, it is essential to understand the agreement between the company and its renter.
- Call a personal injury lawyer. No one wants unfair treatment, especially not after being through an accident. Some of the information in the agreement between the renter and self-drive company can be confusing.
A personal injury lawyer can provide a free evaluation of a case so a victim of automobile crashes will better understand their legal rights and claims.
Who Is Liable in a Rental Car Company Accident
The success of a personal injury lawsuit filed against a negligent party depends mainly on presenting strong evidence. The aggrieved party can compile relevant information, statements from witnesses, and photographs of the scene to have sufficient evidence to support the insurance claim.
Filing a claim against the parties involved in an accident can be daunting. Victims are not only dealing with the motorist but also the self-drive company, who can also be held responsible in some circumstances.
When the Driver of a Vehicle-for-Hire Is at Fault
The successful outcome of car accident claims is mainly dependent on proving that the other motorist is to blame.
"Fault," in situations where the act of one person causes harm to another, is an essential concept in personal injury law. Establishing fault allows an injured person to recover compensation for their injuries when another party is responsible for the undesirable incident.
In an automobile accident, the liable party usually is financially accountable for all damages caused to others.
The aggrieved parties, however, will have to prove that:
- They were reasonably careful
- The other person was not careful
- The aggrieved party suffered losses such as physical injuries, vehicle damage, and lost income
Supplemental Insurance for Rental Cars
Since the likelihood of an accident with a car rental is high, all companies offer supplemental protection, and many also provide additional insurance-like coverage. Illinois does not require consumers to purchase supplemental policies, but it is often beneficial, especially for rental car drivers.
However, consumers should first check their family’s auto insurance policy as it might also extend to rental cars. The most common motorist supplemental coverages are:
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
- Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP)
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Rental car company agreements are often more complicated than they seem at first look. There can be many parties involved when a rental accident occurs, including:
- The vehicle renter and the driver’s insurance company
- Car rental agency, as the owner of the vehicle, and its insurance company
- Supplemental insurance coverage if the renter opted for additional liability coverage
- The credit card issuer, and its insurers, if the client opted for credit card coverage
The Unique Issues Related to Chicago Rental Car Accidents
A rented automobile accident claim can be more complicated than other types of accident claim due to the processing, claiming, and negotiating of liability insurance.
Such processes often involve multiple lawyers and insurers, and it can be difficult for the renter to protect their rights and interests.
Therefore, the renter must hire legal representation as soon as possible after the accident. An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can access multiple sources and layers of insurance available to mitigate each party’s financial obligation.
Our lawyers can also be beneficial in situations where the rental company itself is responsible, in whole or in part. Note that self-drive agencies have a legal obligation to ensure that the car is in a safe driving condition.
As part of the rental motor vehicle agreement, renters must inspect the vehicle, but they are only responsible for what they could reasonably identify.
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience representing clients injured with the following auto rental companies:
Some car and truck accidents involving car rental companies include collisions with uninsured motorists whose negligence caused severe injuries and death. These injury victims often face years of mounting medical bills from follow-up treatment after the tragedy of another’s recklessness.
What to Do in a Vehicle Rental Crash
If you experience an accident with a car rental, you should:
- Contact the police immediately
- Get medical attention
- Contact the rental agency and comply with any reasonable instructions
- If applicable, contact your own insurance company or credit card company
- Return to the car rental office.
Do not leave the car rental office until you receive:
- A copy of the rental agreement
- A copy of the accident report along with injury claim documents and repair estimates
- Photos of property damage to all vehicles involved
Afterward, seek a personal injury lawyer’s advice with experience handling rental car property damage, injury cases, and rental car insurance to take legal action.
Negotiating with an insurance company can be very difficult, particularly in this scenario, due to the multiple insurance companies that are potentially involved. An attorney experienced with rental car accidents, rental car insurance claims, and personal injury laws can determine whether you are or are not at fault.
It is generally in your best interest to involve your lawyer as early in the process as possible so that the attorney can begin protecting your rights and interests immediately.
Rental Vehicle Accident FAQs
Our personal injury attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions in dealing directly with an insurance provider offering compensation in a rental car accident. An attorney from our law firm is answered some of those questions below.
Call (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for additional information or schedule a free case consultation to discuss your motor vehicle crash.
Will My Insurance Company Cover an Accident in a Rental Car?
In the United States, the primary car insurance coverage on your personal or family vehicle typically extends to cars for rent. However, it is best to check with your own insurance company to determine the liability coverage of your insurance policy.
If your car crash coverage extends to rental cars, the liability insurance likely pays up to the maximum coverage for any personal injuries and medical bills of rental car drivers and passengers and damages you cause to property and other vehicles.
What Happens If You Wreck an Enterprise Rent a Car?
Anyone in an auto accident with a car rental company should follow the same procedures as one would in an accident.
Next, request that emergency medical technicians come to the accident scene even if you believe no one is severely injured.
Call the rental company where you rented the vehicle and give them a detailed description of what happened during the accident. Typically, the auto rental company will take you through their specific process of handling a claim to solve your car accident case that will not involve your own insurance.
Will Other Driver’s Insurance Pay for My Rental Car Accident?
If another’s negligence caused your car accident, they are legally responsible for the cost of repairs, injuries, and damages. Typically, the driver at fault will pay all costs associated with your damage, including medical expenses and lost wages through their insurance policy unless they are uninsured.
The other motorist's insurance coverage will pay for while your vehicle is under repair or replacement. However, not all insurance carriers provide rental car coverage.
Does Full Coverage Cover a Rental Vehicle?
Most insurance policies contain liability and comprehensive coverage that pays for damages to a rental vehicle if your vehicle was damaged anywhere in the United States. Typically, the policy will provide coverage to pay you for renting a car of the same classification as your car or truck damaged in the collision.
What Happens If You Hit a Deer in a Rental Truck or Car?
If you hit a deer that resulted in an auto crash with damages, your family’s insurance policy likely covers all losses paid out by a comprehensive package. The extent of the coverage often includes the price of a car rental while your vehicle is under repair.
Hire a Rental Car Accident Lawyer to Collect Compensation
If you have been involved in an accident with a rental truck or car in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, speak with a car accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers can perform a comprehensive case review and provide legal options for proceeding.
While our law firm is headquartered in downtown Chicago, IL (Cook County), our trial lawyers serve clients all over the state.
Contact our auto accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through this contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm's discussions about your car accident injury remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.