Who is responsible when rental car accidents occur?
Drivers may book a rental car when on vacation or when their personal vehicle undergoes maintenance. Some might not worry too much since they may only rent the vehicle for a short time. Even a cursory review of California crash statistics reveal that “accidents may happen,” and the collision may happen when someone drives a rental vehicle. In the event of an accident, questions arise about who is responsible for the damages. The answer requires reviewing contracts and insurance policies, at the very least.
Terms, agreements, and conditions
The person at fault typically ends up facing claims. What particular policy is involved?
Usually, auto insurance follows the driver. Do not make assumptions, though. Please speak to the insurance company about its rules regarding coverage when the policyholder drives a rental. Besides possible exclusions, there may be clauses limiting the coverage time. For example, the coverage might only be in effect for 30 consecutive days with the exact rental vehicle. Always check terms and avoid assumptions.
Also, the rental company may offer a waiver for a specified fee. Paying the extra money for the damage waiver could mean the rental won’t seek payment from the customer for vehicle damage. A rental company might offer additional coverage, including liability.
Some credit card companies might even offer collision or other coverage when a car is rented with their vehicle. So, the credit card’s policy may be part of a claim.
Liability and personal injury
The person at fault for the accident may end up paying. While the insurance company may waiver a customer, the company would likely file a claim against the other driver if he/she is at fault.
What if the incident involves more than damage to a vehicle? Property damage, personal injury, and even wrongful death may result from an accident. Filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy seems appropriate. However, there may be instances where a lawsuit or uninsured motorist claim becomes necessary.
Perhaps the rental company shares in the fault. Renting a poorly serviced vehicle suffering from mechanical problems could lead to an accident.
A rental car MVA leads to questions about liability. Injured parties may work with an attorney to file a claim against whoever is at fault.