The last thing most of us want to deal with when away on vacation or a business trip is a rental car accident. But they happen, and it’s important to understand what to do if you’re injured in a rental car crash or are struck by someone driving a rental car – whether as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver. No matter the circumstances of your accident, you need to consider every opportunity to be compensated for your injuries, damage to your property, lost income, and pain and suffering.
As a rental car driver, on the other hand, you want to make sure you’re protected against liability before you take that car out on the road. If you’re involved in an accident without the right insurance, it can easily cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Injured as a Rental Car Passenger or by a Rental Car Driver
If you’ve been injured in Illinois while riding in a rental car driven by someone else, or have been struck by a rental car as a pedestrian, cyclist, or while in another vehicle, recovering compensation can be a challenge. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical and rehabilitation expenses; your lost wages if you can’t work; damage to your vehicle or other property; your pain and suffering; and any long-term disability you may suffer as a result.
Establishing who is at fault and the amount of your damages is not a task you should attempt yourself. Insurers retain sophisticated defense attorneys whose job is to fight these kinds of claims every day. You need someone in your corner who has the knowledge and experience to secure the compensation you’re entitled to. It’s not a situation you want to try to handle yourself, particularly if you’ve been injured and want to focus on your recovery.
In addition, a rental car accident situation is different from the usual kind because there may be more than one party responsible for paying you for your damages and injuries. The driver, the rental car company, the driver’s insurance company, the rental car company’s insurer, even the driver’s credit card company – any or all of these might end up responsible for compensating you for your injuries and loss. This can be challenging, if not overwhelming, to try to sort out on your own, but Cullotta Bravo Law can help.
Involved in an Accident While Driving Your Rental Car
If you’ve been involved in an accident while driving a rental car, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries caused by the negligence of the other driver or a faulty rental vehicle. As with anyone else injured in an accident, your damages can include the cost of your medical care and your rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and other damages. And because a rental car company is involved, the entire process of recovering for these costs is more complicated than if you were driving your car at the time of your accident.
The team at Cullotta Bravo Law has been representing clients injured in auto accidents for years and can help you understand your rights and help you recover what you’re entitled to. If you’ve been injured in a rental car accident, call Cullotta Bravo Law today at 630-898-7800 or contact them online to learn how they can help you. It’s important to act quickly in these cases to ensure you don’t do or say anything that could jeopardize your ability to recover from your injuries.
Protecting Yourself as a Driver at the Rental Counter
It’s important to ensure your rental car experience doesn’t leave you deeply in debt for years or decades. This means you want to ensure you’re adequately covered by insurance before you drive that rental vehicle off the lot.
Your Liability in Case of a Crash
Your out-of-pocket personal liability if you’re involved in a crash while driving your rental might be no different than if you are in a collision while driving your car, or it could be considerably greater. It depends in large part on whether and how you’re insured.
You may have been through the rental car process; you’re at the rental car counter, just off a flight, eager to get out of the airport area and on to your final destination. The rental agent presents you with a long contract on paper, or its digital equivalent, with what seems like a half a dozen items you need to initial, sign, or click through. One of your usual options relates to something that might be called “collision damage waiver,” “loss damage waiver,” or something similar, commonly abbreviated CDW. Do you initial it? Waive it?
What you do with CDW and other insurance decisions when renting a car depends on whether and what kinds of auto insurance you already have. So it’s important to understand what could happen if you and your rental car are involved in a crash.
Insurance Covering Injuries or Damage You May Cause to Others
First, check your auto insurance policy to ensure you’re insured if you injure someone else or cause damage with your rental vehicle. Many policies cover insured drivers while they are driving rental cars, both for liability (damage you do to other people and things) and for collision/comprehensive (damage that’s done to your own vehicle). That’s why it’s important to understand what coverage you have and what its limits are.
Liability insurance protects you if you injure someone else or damage their vehicle while driving your car and, for many policies, a rental car (within the United States). While your auto liability insurance policy likely covers you while driving a rental car, it’s a good idea to check this in advance to be sure.
Collision or Comprehensive Insurance
This type of insurance will usually cover some portion of the damage that’s done to your own car and, in many cases, a rental car you’re driving. Here too, you should check your policy carefully before renting a car. It might cover your rental vehicle, but you may also discover that you don’t even have this kind of coverage as part of your policy.
For example, if you own an older car that has lost much of its original value over the years, you may have decided to drop the insurance covering damage to your vehicle. In that case, your insurance probably won’t protect you if your rental car is damaged, and you could end up with a hefty repair or replacement bill if the damage is your fault.
That Collision Damage Waiver you initial at the rental counter? That tells the rental company that you are declining to pay for collision coverage, which means if you damage the rental car, the company will look to you to pay for the repairs. If you don’t have your own collision insurance, you risk paying this out of your pocket.
No Insurance? Don’t Drive Without It!
If you don’t have an auto insurance policy, then you should purchase liability and collision coverage at the rental car counter or you risk being personally responsible for injuries or damage that occur to others while you are driving the rental car.
What you want to avoid is driving with no liability or collision coverage at all. While the cost to repair or replace a damaged rental car is significant, it can be a fraction of what the damages could be if you injure someone while driving a rental car where you have waived all insurance coverage and do not have your own policy. You can be liable for the injured person’s medical costs, damages to their vehicles or other personal property, their lost wages while they recuperate, and their pain and suffering, all of which can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Cullotta Bravo Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a rental car accident, contact Cullotta Bravo Law as soon as possible to discuss your case and learn how we can help. Our attorneys have years of experience representing injured drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians in Illinois. We can help you recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, damages, and pain and suffering. Call us at 630-898-7800 or contact us online to discuss your case.