In any major metropolitan area of Texas, it’s not unlikely that you will encounter rental cars on the road. Our state sees a fair share of tourists and business travelers every day, and many residents who choose to rent cars from time to time, as well, for business or pleasure.
When the driver of a rental vehicle causes a car accident, things can get a little complicated legally for others who were injured in the crash. Here’s what you should be aware of after an accident, including how liability may be determined, what to do after a crash, and how to get legal help.
Liability in Rental Car Crashes
In almost every case, liability for the accident falls on the driver of the rental car, and you will want to make your injury claim against his or her usual personal auto insurance policy, or a policy that the driver has purchased from the rental car company. You may start the claims process yourself, or you may have a personal injury attorney help you with the process of making a claim and negotiating a fair settlement. The damages you may be able to seek recovery for include:
- Emergency treatment costs
- Follow-up care and doctor’s visits
- Skilled nursing and long-term care needs
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Repair or replacement of other personal property lost in the accident
You may also be able to recover financially for the pain and suffering you endured from your wounds, emotional trauma, and certain other non-economic damages. In some exceptional cases, a punitive award may also be made. Talk to your attorney to find out what damages you may be eligible for based on the specific circumstances of your accident.
When the Car Rental Company Is Liable
In rare cases, the car rental company may be liable for the accident. This situation is uncommon, as the rental company is usually protected by federal law from the actions of the drivers that they rent to. However, there are certain exceptions, such as if the company failed to maintain the vehicle and that failure was the reason the vehicle crashed. The company may also be held liable if they knew that the vehicle was defective in some fashion but failed to take action and rented the car to someone anyways. Both of these acts are typically considered negligence on the part of the rental company, and it may be held responsible for any injuries that happen as a result of that negligent behavior.
Get Legal Help After an Accident
You can get started with the insurance claim process yourself, but having an attorney on your side from day one can be a big help. Your attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected and help you pursue the full value of your claim against all parties responsible for your accident, as well as help you negotiate a fair settlement amount. Your attorney can also represent you in court if the insurance company tries to unfairly minimize or outright deny your rightful claim, which is unfortunately all too common. If an insurance claim fails, a personal injury lawsuit is the only way that you can legally seek compensation for the losses you incurred as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP understand that after you have been in a severe automobile accident, the law may be the last thing on your mind while you’re recovering from your wounds. Let our experienced legal professionals handle the legal side of your case, and you and your family can focus on the healing process.
To speak to a legal professional about your car accident situation, call Wayne Wright LLP by phone, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation right away.