June 21, 2022 | Firm News
If you own a vehicle, you may already be familiar with liability laws and policies for car accidents in Florida. But what happens if you get into an accident in a rental car? Who will be responsible for the damages to the rental car? What about the other car? You are probably concerned about how much it will cost to make repairs to a car that you don’t even own. Fortunately, we can provide answers to all of your questions on this subject.
Car rental companies are typically not responsible for damages caused by accidents. Not only will they avoid liability for damages to their own rental car, but they also likely won’t be liable for the damages to other cars either. If you are involved in a car accident with a rental car, chances are that one of the two drivers will be liable. In most cases, the party that will ultimately end up paying is one of the insurance companies. The only instance in which the rental company will be liable is if they were negligent in maintaining the rental car and that negligence caused the accident.
Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, you should always have the help of a Hollywood, FL car accident attorney after being involved in a crash. The dedicated Florida car accident lawyers at South Florida Law are ready to help you assess your legal options regarding damages from a rental car accident in Florida. To schedule your first consultation for free, call our offices at (954) 932-7877.
Florida law requires that every single person who gets behind the wheel of a car have at least some level of insurance coverage. Personal vehicle owners in Florida all must have personal injury protection coverage, which is intended to cover the damage to your own car in an accident as well as roughly 80% of medical expenses incurred in the accident.
If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage because you own a car, but you were driving a rental car in Florida when you got into an accident, your insurance will usually still apply to the damages to the rental car. Your PIP coverage is intended to apply to you as a driver generally, not just to you as a driver of your own car.
Florida citizens are not legally permitted to rent a car without insurance. If you do not have personal injury protection coverage, Florida law requires that car rental companies supply you with a sufficient coverage plan before handing over the keys. One way or another, if you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car, insurance will most likely cover the damages to the car.
Whether insurance will cover damages that you caused as a result of your own negligence behind the wheel of a rental car will depend on the language of your coverage plan. Some insurance plans will cover a driver for accidents caused by negligent actions like speeding or other traffic violations but won’t cover damages caused by more reckless conduct like drunk driving. If you are concerned about the fine print of your plan or have been denied coverage, speak to one of our Miami car accident attorneys immediately. We can go through the insurance policy line-by-line to make sure that you aren’t being mistreated by the company that exists primarily to protect you.
If another driver’s negligence causes an accident that damages your rental vehicle, you will be responsible for the damages unless you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If your claim is denied or the insurance representative offers you less than you deserve, you should speak to an experienced Hallandale Beach car accident attorney as soon as possible. Claims can lapse, and you shouldn’t be left holding the bag for damages that you didn’t cause to a car that you don’t even own.
Almost every rental car company will require you to sign a waiver that relieves them of responsibility for any property damage or injuries from a car accident. These agreements typically contain strong, effective language that frees the company from responsibility. Ultimately, you (and your insurance provider) will likely be responsible for damages to the rental car that you caused.
The only exception that may apply is where the rental car company’s mistakes caused the accident and the damages. Rental car companies owe a duty to their customers to properly maintain the vehicles and ensure that they are safe to drive when they leave the lot. Maintenance mistakes or equipment failure might lead to an accident, putting the driver in danger that they didn’t expect.
For instance, if the rental car company failed to perform reasonable inspections on their cars to confirm that all vehicles had functioning brake lines, they would have breached their duty to their customers. Thus, if a customer’s vehicle malfunctioned while braking and caused an accident with another car, the negligent car rental company should be liable for the damages that resulted from the accident, in which case you’ll want to contact a Pembroke Pines car accident lawyer.
South Florida Law helps victims negotiate with insurance companies and assess their options after an accident involving a rental car. Call our Aventura car accident attorneys for a free initial consultation on your options. We can be reached at (954) 932-7877.