Were You Driving a Rental Car in an Accident?

If a negligent or reckless motorist injures you in a crash while you’re driving a rental car, you’re going to need the advice and services of a Pasadena traffic accident attorney. You’ll also need an attorney’s help if you’re injured in a collision and the other motorist was driving a rental car.

As of 2020, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 6.5 million automobiles and more than 1.1 million trucks were registered in Los Angeles County alone. With so many vehicles on the road, serious accidents happen far too frequently in Southern California.

When a rental car is involved in an accident, who pays for what? If you’re injured in an accident that involves a rental car, what steps can you take to recover compensation for your medical expenses? Keep reading for the answers that every driver in Southern California needs to know.

How Are Accidents That Involve Rental Cars Handled?

California is an “at-fault” auto insurance state, so whether or not a rental car is involved in an accident, the at-fault driver is liable for the other party’s injuries and damages. Whether or not a rental car was involved usually makes no difference when it comes to determining liability.

However, when a rental car is involved in an accident, different insurance companies may be involved and different types of policies and coverage may apply:

  1.  An at-fault motorist’s own car insurance is usually the primary source of compensation for an injury victim’s medical expenses and related losses and damages.
  2.  If an at-fault motorist purchased separate coverage from the rental car company, that insurance may cover the damages to the vehicles and related expenses.
  3.  An at-fault motorist’s credit card company may extend rental car coverage to a victim’s injuries and related damages.

What is Substitute Vehicle Coverage?

Most car insurance policies include a substitute vehicle clause that covers you when you’re driving a vehicle temporarily because your personal vehicle isn’t being used. When you rent a vehicle, you need to know if your own car insurance covers that vehicle while you’re driving it.

Determine if your policy provides substitute vehicle coverage, and if it does, determine the limits for that coverage. When you have substitute vehicle coverage and a rental car satisfies your policy’s terms for substitute vehicles, you’re covered while you’re driving it.

Every accident is unique, and a rental car only complicates what is already a difficult legal situation. If you’re injured in any traffic accident in Southern California, let a Pasadena traffic accident lawyer give you personalized advice and explain how the law applies to your own case.

When Does a Rental Car Company Have Liability?

In certain rare cases, a rental car company may be liable for an accident that involves one of their cars, for instance, if the company:

  1.  negligently or intentionally rented a defective vehicle, and that defect caused the accident, injuries, and damages
  2.  rented a vehicle to someone who does not hold a current, valid driver’s license

In Southern California, if you are injured in an accident that involves a rental car, and you need to recover compensation for your losses, your Pasadena traffic accident attorney will identify and investigate all potential liable parties and sources of compensation.

When an Accident Happens, Take These Steps

When a collision happens and a rental vehicle is involved, handle it like any other traffic accident. Summon medical assistance if anyone is injured – that’s the top priority – and call the local police.

Exchange insurance details with the other driver, take photos of the accident scene, the damages, and your injuries, and try to get the names and contact details of any eyewitnesses. If you’re driving a rental car, call the rental company and find out what other steps you may need to take.

If you are not taken to a hospital or treated at the scene of an accident, obtain a medical exam immediately, within 24 hours if possible. That exam will protect you if you sustain a latent or hard-to-detect injury, and it creates the medical records you’ll need if you take legal action.

Will You Need Additional Insurance for a Rental Car?

Rental car companies typically offer liability and collision coverage and a number of other options. When you rent a vehicle, carefully consider these options and offerings, especially if your own car insurance does not cover you in a substitute vehicle.

If you don’t know what coverage you carry or what coverage you’ll need if you rent a vehicle, ask your automobile insurance agent. What’s essential is making sure that you’re adequately covered when you drive in Southern California.

How Will an Attorney Help?

If a reckless or negligent driver injures you in any traffic accident in Southern California, immediately after you’ve been examined and treated for your injury, schedule a consultation with a Pasadena traffic accident lawyer.

Your lawyer will investigate how the accident happened and how you were injured, identify the liable party or parties, protect your legal rights, and negotiate with the other side’s attorney (or attorneys) for a reasonable and fair settlement on your behalf.

That’s how most injury claims are resolved, but if liability is in dispute or if no reasonable settlement is offered, your lawyer will take your case to trial. Your lawyer will explain to a jury how (and how seriously) you were injured and will ask the jury to order the payment of your compensation. But how can you select an attorney who will fight effectively on your behalf?

Why Should You Choose Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell?

When you choose Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell to handle your personal injury claim, you’ll be choosing a team of award-winning attorneys who have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for the injured victims of negligence in Southern California.

If you were injured in an accident that involved a rental car, your first consultation with Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell is offered with no obligation or cost, and you’ll pay no lawyer’s fee unless or until we obtain your compensation with a courtroom verdict or a private settlement.

We know how to win the compensation that an injury victim needs. For over four decades, we’ve been fighting – and winning – for the injured victims of negligence. If you have been injured by a negligent driver in Southern California – or if that happens in the future – promptly contact Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell by calling 626-208-9906, and let us fight for you.