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When an Accident Occurs in a Rental Car

The Fostel Law Firm July 25, 2023

Getting into a car accident is always a frustrating and anxiety-inducing experience, but even more so when the car you were driving wasn’t even yours. After a rental car accident, you may have a lot of questions about the situation, including “Who can be liable?” and “Can I pursue compensation?”  

Consider hiring legal counsel for effective guidance. As a car accident attorney, I have a deep understanding of Texas insurance laws and I know what it takes to get fair compensation for each and every client I represent. My firm has offices in Georgetown and Houston, Texas, but serves clients throughout the state of Texas and the Southeast New Mexico area.  

Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents

A rental car accident can occur for a wide range of reasons. Some of the most common causes of accidents involving rental cars include: 

  • not being familiar with the area 

  • not being familiar with the car  

  • driving too fast 

  • failing to yield the right of way 

  • driving a poorly maintained vehicle 

  • driving a car with a defect 

  • failing to keep a safe distance 

  • not obeying other traffic rules 

It takes time to get used to driving a new car. Oftentimes, drivers rent vehicles when they’re visiting a new town, state, or country. Not being familiar with the car plus not being familiar with the road is a recipe for disaster in many cases.  

Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars

When renting a car, there are four main types of insurance coverage for rental cars you are likely to be offered by the rental agency:  

  • A loss damage waiver - With this waiver, which typically comes with a deductible, you will not be responsible for paying to repair/replace a rental car if it gets stolen or damaged.  

  • Liability coverage - If you are responsible for causing a rental car accident, this type of insurance will cover damages to other parties’ property and medical costs for their injuries.  

  • Personal accident coverage - If you get injured in a rental car accident, you can use this type of coverage to pay for any medical costs incurred by you and your passengers.  

  • Personal effects coverage - This type of insurance covers the theft of possessions (your personal belongings) from the rental car, up to a set dollar limit. 

The rental car coverage that you may need to purchase depends on your own insurance. Liability coverage is legally required in the state of Texas, which is why you may already have it when renting a car. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, motorists in the state must carry at least $30,000 in liability coverage for injuries per person (and $60,000 per accident) as well as $25,000 in property damage coverage. 

Who Can Be Liable? 

One of the many things an experienced attorney can help you with after an accident occurs in a rental car is determining liability. The following parties could be held liable for causing the accident: 

  • Rental companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in a safe condition at all times. When they fail to do so and an accident occurs due to poor vehicle maintenance, the company can be held liable.  

  • The renter is responsible for obeying all traffic laws when operating a rental car. If they disobey traffic laws and their negligence results in an accident, they will be held liable.  

  • Other drivers may also be held liable for a rental car accident when their negligence causes the collision.  

  • The car/parts manufacturer may be liable if the accident occurred because of defects in the rental car.  

When you get into an accident while driving a rental car, it can be challenging to determine liability without an attorney’s help. A skilled attorney will investigate and review your case to help you identify liable parties and explain the steps you should take to obtain compensation for your damages and losses.  

Look to Compassionate Legal Help

When an accident occurs in a rental car, you might need legal help from an experienced attorney to understand your options for compensation. At The Fostel Law Firm, I can answer your questions and guide you through the claims process to help you get the compensation you deserve. I am committed to providing personalized legal guidance and compassionate support to each client I represent. Contact my office now to get a case evaluation.