What if I Am Hit by a Rental Car?
If someone hits you in a rental car, it’s logical to wonder who will pay for your injuries. Should you file a claim against the driver, the car rental company, or someone else?
Getting in an accident with a rental car can be more complicated than other accidents, but the information below will help. Also, a Dallas car accident attorney at The Francis Firm can sort the rental car accident out for you. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
Rental Car Laws in Texas
Texas law states that only a person with a valid driver’s license can be authorized to drive on an agreement for a rental car. However, there is an exception for emergencies. Also, the driver must be at least 21 years old to drive the vehicle in most circumstances.
The at-fault driver in the rental car may have insurance coverage on their policy. The rental car company may also have the driver sign a damage waiver to offset costs to the rental vehicle. The rental car business cannot void the waiver except in these cases:
- The authorized driver gets in an accident because of wanton or willful actions.
- The damage to the car is by someone unauthorized, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, committing a crime, racing, or pushing or towing another vehicle.
Further, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that car rental companies must take vehicles out of their lots when there is a safety recall. Therefore, if you were not at fault for the rental car accident, you may receive compensation from the car rental company.
Who Drove the Rental Car?
A critical factor when you are not at fault in a rental car accident is who was driving the rental vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to understand who drove the rental when the crash happened.
This is a big deal because the rental contract specifies who is authorized to drive the car. If you were hurt by someone not listed on the contract, getting compensation in a car accident lawsuit is complicated. The damage waiver from the auto insurance company may be voided. You can sue the driver on their insurance policy.
If you drove the rental, you might get compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy if you were not at fault.
What Caused the Crash?
Car accidents often happen in the Dallas and Fort Worth region. Your car accident attorney must determine the cause of the crash during the claim process. If there is a potential problem with the rental car, they must keep their vehicles in good condition.
If you were hurt because of a vehicle defect, you could have a claim against the rental business.
What Kind of Insurance Was on the Rental Car?
Next, once it’s understood that the rental car driver caused the crash, your attorney should find out the insurance on the vehicle. When drivers rent a car, they usually rely on their auto insurance policy for coverage. If that’s true in your case, you and your attorney may file a claim on the driver’s policy.
Also, in Texas, you may be able to file a claim on your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This is no-fault insurance that Texas residents can add to their policy for a minimum of $2,500 in coverage. It covers medical bills and lost wages up to the policy limits, regardless of who was at fault.
However, you can decline this coverage when you take out your policy. So, not every Texan has PIP coverage.
What if You Hit Someone Else with a Rental Car?
Let’s review another scenario: if you hit another vehicle when driving a rental car in Texas. Under Texas law, you may need to cover the other driver’s damages and injuries.
When you signed the rental contract, you may have opted for the damage waiver on the vehicle. This means you are not liable for damages to the rental vehicle. However, this does not cover the damages for another person you hurt with a rental car.
You also had the choice to pay for the car company’s rental insurance. It is sometimes wise to pay for this coverage because not all Texas insurance policies provide rental coverage.
If you rent a car in Texas, you should check with your auto insurance company to find out if a rental car accident is covered. If it isn’t, purchasing the extra coverage is wise. Ensure you reported that you paid for rental coverage when reporting the incident to your insurance company.
Remember This if You Hit Someone In a Rental Car
If you were in a crash in Texas and were driving a rental car, the other driver may use it against you. For example, they could claim that you drove carelessly because it wasn’t your car. Or, they might say you didn’t know the local driving laws of Dallas or Fort Worth, so you caused the accident.
It is best not to mention that the car was a rental when talking to others in the accident. You’re better off having the case reviewed by a Dallas car crash attorney before you provide too much information to other parties.
Also, sometimes the rental company could be liable for the accident. This happens if there is a mechanical defect or failure. If this occurs, you could receive compensation from the rental car firm. Some rental car accidents that may be blamed on vehicle defects are:
- Broken headlights
- Underinflated or bald tires
- Steering problems
- Worn brakes
- Broken wipers in bad weather
A personal injury attorney experienced with rental car accidents should review the case to determine the proper legal steps.
Contact Our Dallas Car Accident Attorneys Now
Many things are running through your mind if you were hit by a rental car in Southlake or Fort Worth. Who will cover your car damages, medical bills, and lost wages? How will you pay your medical bills while waiting for a settlement? A rental car accident attorney at The Francis Firm possesses the skill and experience to get you the best accident settlement. Contact one of our attorneys today for a complimentary consultation.