Injury Law Blog

Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident?

After a car accident that causes significant damage to your vehicle, you must immediately get it fixed. Operating a damaged vehicle is either impossible if the car is a total loss. If the car is still technically roadworthy it may be dangerous to drive because certain parts no longer function correctly. This might leave a driver to question what options are available to them in terms of transportation after an accident. Many drivers use rental car services to fill this gap. However, renting a vehicle is often expensive. How does a driver pay for rental services while a repair shop is fixing their car?

Who Is at Fault?

This is an important question to answer after an accident even without the context of renting a car. The party that is at-fault typically pays for the medical bills and property damages associated with an accident. In at-fault states, the driver that was to blame for the incident cannot recover compensation through any means to pay for accident-related costs like rental cars except through their liability insurance. Liability insurance, or additional insurance like personal injury protection (PIP) might help cover the cost of rental car services. However, inadequate insurance might leave an at-fault driver to pay for additional costs out-of-pocket.

Some states exercise comparative fault laws. Comparative fault comes in two different types: modified and pure. Modified comparative fault assigns blame to both parties, but only the driver with less than 50% fault can file any sort of claim against the other driver or their insurance company. In pure comparative fault states, either driver, no matter their fault rating, can file a claim.

Filing a Claim

If you qualify within your state to file a claim against the other driver, you can pursue legal action via personal injury lawsuit or file a claim through your insurance. Going through your insurance company involves the company itself contacting the other driver’s carrier. Their carrier assigns claims adjustors to your case, initiating a process of settlement negotiation. However, if you find yourself having to pay out-of-pocket for rental car expenses, even with an existing insurance claim, you can recover these additional costs through legal settlement.

Filing a personal injury claim differs from your insurance company’s claims process because a personal injury claim is a type of lawsuit you file against the other driver. In this process, it is often wise to employ the assistance of a legal representative. Even if you only intend to utilize a free consultation to determine if your case will be successful, consulting a skilled Sacramento accident attorney could make a significant difference in your case.

A lawyer can help guide you through both the insurance claim route and the personal injury lawsuit route. Even when settling with a claims adjustor, having a personal injury lawyer by your side to advise you on what offers are reasonable, and what offers cheat you out of fair compensation, can be invaluable.

Rental Car Insurance

Though many drivers do not explore this option, rental car agencies do offer insurance to registered car owners. Rental car insurance offers much of the same coverages as big-name insurance companies. For instance, they offer collision coverage, liability insurance, and personal injury insurance. One big benefit from utilizing rental car insurance is that they cover their own rental services in the case of an accident. This is useful because at-fault drivers are more likely to fall short in covering costs than are drivers that aren’t at fault.

After an accident, the question of who will pay for your rental car services depends on your unique situation, including your fault rating and existing insurance coverage. Read about your state’s specific fault-based laws to determine if you can seek compensation for accident-related damages through the personal injury claims process.