Do you need a car accident attorney after getting into an accident in a rental vehicle? You might if you suffered serious personal injuries, expensive property damage, or aren’t sure whose insurance will cover the damages.
The dedicated legal team at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. are happy to discuss your recent crash with you in detail during a free case evaluation. We might be able to help you recover your damages, including the costs of medical care and rental car repairs or replacement.
Florida is one of the most heavily-visited states in the entire country, with tens of millions of tourists — international and domestic — visiting every year. As such, rental cars are quite common on state roadways, along with drivers who may feel uncomfortable in a new, unfamiliar location and driving a new, unfamiliar vehicle. Not unsurprisingly, crashes involving these vehicles are common. Fortunately, a Fort Lauderdale rental car accident lawyer understands the best way to take charge of your case.
So, What Happens When You’re Injured in Fort Lauderdale by a Rental Car Driver?
If you have been injured by a rental vehicle, the strategy for litigating your injury claims against the driver is somewhat straightforward. As with the standard negligence-based motor vehicle accident case, you have to prove that you were injured, and that the defendant-driver acted negligently in causing your injuries.
Litigating a claim against the rental car company is quite a bit more complicated, however. Though there is increased difficulty and complexity in filing a case against a rental car company, with the help of skilled Fort Lauderdale lawyer David I. Fuchs and his team, you can rest assured that your rental car crash claim will be fully assessed and advocated persuasively.
What to Expect from a Rental Vehicle Accident Claim
One of the worst possible times to get into a vehicle collision is while driving a car you rented. On top of the standard car accident issues such as personal injuries, medical bills, and insurance claims, you now have to deal with another significant problem – paying for a vehicle that isn’t yours. Many drivers opt to waive the optional rental car insurance when they rent, believing they won’t get into a wreck or their personal plans will cover the damages. What really happens if a crash occurs, however, can end with the driver paying out-of-pocket.
A Closer Look At What Really Happens to Your Claim
If a driver paid for rental car insurance, this policy will provide primary coverage. The rental insurance will cover medical bills and property damage costs up to a maximum, at which point the driver’s insurance company will pay for any remaining costs according to the parameters of the driver’s policy. With no rental insurance, the driver’s personal policy may or may not pay for damages according to the policy. Only some insurance plans extend coverage to rented vehicles. You will need to call your insurance company and ask whether you have this type of coverage.
Finally, if you paid with a credit card, the credit card company might offer automatic coverage in the event of a car accident. Only some companies offer this benefit. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, you will not be able to file your claim with another driver’s insurer, even if you weren’t at fault for your accident. Instead, it is up to your personal policy to cover the damages. The only time you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver is if you have “serious” injuries. If after a crash you have trouble securing adequate compensation for your losses, talk to one of our lawyers for assistance.
A Brief Look at the Graves Amendment
Generally speaking, there is a federal law known as the Graves Amendment that shields rental car companies from auto accident liability in normal accident cases (i.e., where the driver is solely responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries). In the past, state 2law implemented what is known as “dangerous instrumentality,” which — in simple terms — made the rental car company liable for injuries caused by the driver’s own negligence. Critically, however, the Graves Amendment federal protection of rental car companies pre-empts Florida’s “dangerous instrumentality” law. As such, in Fort Lauderdale and southern Florida, rental car companies cannot be held liable for injuries caused by a driver’s own negligence.
In Fort Lauderdale rental car crashes, the rental car company can only be held liable for your injuries if they acted negligently, and — in doing so — contributed substantially to your injuries. The rental business can act negligently and contribute to your injuries in any number of ways, including but not limited to a failure to properly maintain the rental car itself, and a failure to perform proper background checks on the driver and assess their ability to safely operate the vehicle, among others.
For example, suppose that you are injured by a driver who sideswipes you on the highway. It’s revealed that the defendant-driver was using a rental car. After further investigation, you find that the crash was caused due to faulty brakes in the defendant’s car. An employee of the rental car company failed to properly inspect the vehicle — had the inspection been conducted correctly, the faulty brakes would have been discovered. This negligence on the part of the rental car company may form the basis for a legitimate claim.
Why Hire a Lawyer After an Accident with a Rental Car?
The insurance coverage question can be a very difficult one to answer after a rental car crash in Florida. An attorney can help you get to the bottom of the matter, protecting your rights as a driver along the way. David I. Fuchs and his dedicated team of attorneys will investigate your crash, talk to your insurance company, and find out your potential options moving forward. We can help you argue a claim against a negligent at-fault driver, negotiate with insurance claims adjusters, and even take your claim to court if it will help your case.
Call a Fort Lauderdale Rental Car Accident Attorney Today
David I. Fuchs has been successfully practicing law for almost 30 years, representing clients from all across the state of Florida. Attorney Fuchs prides himself on deep engagement with clients and open, honest communication. Here at David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., you’ll know that your claims will be pursued doggedly.
Our team knows how complex rental car accidents can be. We also know that a large number of drivers in Florida are visiting from out of state, renting vehicles on their vacations to Disneyworld or other tourist destinations. We can help out-of-state accident victims protect their rights and seek damage recovery after a rental car wreck. For more information about your individual claim, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A.