Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on November 26, 2019
Renting a vehicle can come with added stress in the event of a car accident. Not only might you have suffered serious personal injuries, but you may also need to contend with expensive damage to the vehicle you rented. Insurance claims can be more complicated for crashes involving rental vehicles compared to a car you own. If someone hit you while you were driving a rental car in Florida, try to remain calm and take the correct steps toward obtaining financial recovery.
Steps to Take After a Rental Car Crash
The first thing to do if you get into a car accident in a rental car is to check yourself and others for injuries. Assess your body from head to toe for signs of something wrong, such as pain, tenderness or tingling. Your adrenaline could be masking symptoms of an injury. Do not tell a police officer or insurance company you do not have any injuries until you have seen a doctor. Check the passengers in your vehicle for injuries next, then everyone else involved in the wreck.
Call 911 to report the car accident if you see any injuries, fatalities or more than $500 in property damages. You should also call the police if you believe your car accident involves a drunk driver or a commercial vehicle. Do not admit fault for the accident to the police or the other driver. Give your side of the story to the responding police officer, but do not speculate about fault. Remain at the scene of the rental car accident until the police clear you to leave.
Contact the company that gave you the rental car to report the accident as soon as possible. Give details about the crash as requested. Take photographs of rental vehicle damage to show the company. If possible, drive the car back to the rental company for an inspection. Otherwise, the rental company will arrange to have it towed. Then, call your personal auto insurance company to report the crash. Your insurer and the rental company will investigate the crash and respond to your claims. You may need to hire a Tampa car accident attorney for complex cases or crashes involving serious injuries.
What If It Wasn’t My Fault? Who Would Be Responsible for Payments?
Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, it will not matter who was at fault for the crash in most cases. Unless the accident caused serious, debilitating personal injuries, you will only have the right to seek benefits from your auto insurance provider, regardless of fault. Your auto insurance provider will be responsible for paying the damages to your rental car if you have the right type of insurance. Your primary insurance provider may cover rental vehicle damages if you have supplemental or full coverage.
If you do not have adequate auto insurance coverage, hopefully you purchased rental vehicle insurance coverage from the rental car provider. This insurance typically covers collision damage and medical bills regardless of fault for the accident. Without rental insurance or adequate insurance on your policy, however, you may have to pay to repair the rental car out of pocket if you caused the crash.
The only time someone else could be responsible for payments is if that person caused the crash and your injuries meet Florida’s serious injury threshold. The state’s insurance laws only allow victims to file claims outside of the no-fault insurance system in these situations. A serious injury in Florida is one that causes more than $10,000 in damages, significant and permanent loss of a bodily function, permanent injury, permanent scarring, disfigurement, or death.
If your injuries are significant enough to meet the threshold, the at-fault party could absorb civil liability for your rental car accident. The driver that caused the car wreck may have to pay for rental car vehicle repairs as well as your medical bills and losses through his or her auto insurance provider. Without meeting the threshold, however, your insurance provider will be responsible for payments, regardless of fault. Use an attorney to help you work through the complex aspects of a rental car accident claim in Florida.