Who Is Liable In A Rental Car Accident? | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
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Who is Liable When I’m Involved in a Car Accident with a Rental Car?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury

Chicago sees numerous tourists each year who come to watch professional sports teams in action, do some shopping and fine dining, or visit cultural attractions. Chicago also is a business hub, with many companies choosing to locate their headquarters or industrial operations in or near the city.

This combination of tourism and commerce brings many visitors to Chicago — and means a lot of rental cars navigate local streets and highways on any given day.

Liability Insurance and Rental Cars

When a rental car is involved in a car accident, the issues can quickly become complicated. Among the complex questions that may arise is liability and which insurance policy should cover the damage to the vehicles or pay the medical bills and other costs of anyone injured.

Typically, a rental car company is not liable for injuries or damages when one of the vehicles it owns is involved in an accident unless the car accident was caused by a mechanical failure that can be linked to the company’s failure to maintain the vehicle properly.

The insurance policy held by the person who caused the car accident should provide compensation for injuries and other damages in Illinois. If you’re driving and someone speeds through a red light and hits your car, that driver’s insurance coverage should be responsible for your bills.

How Does Rental Car Insurance Work?

When a rental car is in the mix, and the driver — whether you or the person who caused the accident — opted for insurance protection through the rental company, then an additional insurance policy may come into play. However, how various insurance policies will apply can depend on the language in the insurance contract. Coverage for an accident involving a rental car may come from:

  • The rental car driver’s personal vehicle insurance
  • Coverage offered by the rental company
  • Coverage offered by the credit card used to pay for the rental car
  • Your car insurance (if you’re not driving the rental car)

You may be able to apply some combination of those insurance coverages if the primary liability policy isn’t sufficient to compensate for your medical bills and other costs. Still, some legal process could be involved in determining which policy would be applied first and how different policies might factor into the mix.

Who Is at Fault in a Rental Car Accident?

Establishing liability is essential in any rental car accident. However, the specific details of your case will determine who is responsible. When the rental driver is responsible for causing the accident, their insurance company may be required to cover a portion of your damages. In fact, the rental company in question may only be required to compensate up to the highest limits of the amount purchased by the rental car renter.

Rental companies can only be held accountable for rental car accident injuries if the rental car company’s negligence is responsible for causing the victim’s damages. For instance, if a rental car is defective or malfunctioning, the company is responsible for ensuring the dangerous vehicle in question is not available to renters.

What to Do after an Accident Involving a Rental Car

In the aftermath of your rental car accident, you may be unsure what to do next. To start, you should:

  • Be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other involved drivers
  • Take steps to document the accident scene with video footage and photos of your injuries
  • Reach out to your rental car accident lawyer for help with your insurance and civil claims
  • Contact the rental car company and fill out an incident report as needed
  • Have your attorney reach out to your insurance company about the rental car accident to find out what damages are covered and how much you could be awarded
  • File a claim with the liable party’s insurance company and have your attorney negotiate with the insurer on your behalf

Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer for Help Today

Because these questions can be so complex, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer whenever you’re involved with a crash while driving a rental car or when the driver who caused the crash was in a rental car.

An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help if you’ve been injured in a rental car accident. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
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