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What Happens If I Have an Accident in a Rental Car in New York?

Understanding the Process After an Accident with a Rental Car in New York
Rental Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is never a pleasant experience; in fact, it may be stressful for the majority of people. Crashing a rental car is considerably worse because it is not your vehicle, and you will almost likely be concerned about the consequences. If you suffer an accident while driving a rental automobile, you must follow the same procedures as if you had crashed your own vehicle. However, you will also need to contact the rental company, and they will probably provide additional instructions that you must complete.Normally, you will have to file a claim with an insurance company, which might be your own or the rental company’s if you acquired insurance coverage from them.

6 Steps to Take Following a Rental Car Accident in New York

  1. Get medical help if injured: Check that you, passengers and other drivers are not hurt. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to get medical assistance as soon as possible.
  2. Report the accident to the police: If you do not require medical attention, the next step is to contact the police to report the accident. Keep in mind that a police officer may or may not appear at the scene depending on the severity of the collision. However, it is in your best interest to notify the authorities of the collision so that you can obtain a police report later on, which may be valuable in the future.
  3. Exchange contact details:In New York, you must remain at the accident scene (if in good condition) and exchange information with the driver or drivers involved in the event. Make a note of their names, driver’s license numbers, insurance company names, and insurance policies. You will also be required to provide them with your personal details.
  4. Gather evidence: Collect as much evidence as you can. Take photos of the accident scene, as well as the damage to your automobile and the other vehicles involved. If you have wounds or scrapes, please be sure to photograph and film them. If there were any witnesses, get their names and phone numbers. Photos, videos, and witness testimonies will be vital pieces of information if you ever need to file a personal injury case or prove that you were not at fault.
  5. Contact your vehicle rental company: RRemember that the car is not yours, and the rental company will give you instructions on what to do if you are involved in an accident. They may request that you drive the automobile (if possible) to a certain place so that they can inspect the damage. You may be required to fill out documentation for them and provide your own version of the accident. You can also provide the evidence you acquired previously.
  6. Report the rental car accident with your own insurance company: If you rely on your own insurance to cover the costs of the accident’s damages, you must notify them as soon as possible. If your insurance company discovers that you were involved in an accident after receiving a claim from another party, they may refuse to reimburse your losses.

Who is Responsible for Rental Car Accidents?

Most of the time, the at-fault motorist will be held accountable for the accident. Nonetheless, in states where Comparative Negligence exists, like New York, it is possible that both drivers are considered responsible. 

Graves Amendment

According to the Graves Amendment, drivers who rented a vehicle cannot sue the rental company for personal injury if the injuries were caused by a negligent driver. The only time a customer can file a personal injury lawsuit against the rental company is if it is possible to prove that the accident was caused by the rental company’s actions or negligence. For example, all rental automobiles must be serviced on a regular basis; if the accident was caused by the brakes failing due to a lack of maintenance, it is possible to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the rental company.

Another’s fault

If another driver was at fault, you must make a claim with your insurance company in order to be reimbursed for all accident-related expenditures. However, the contract you signed with the rental company may oblige you to pay for the car’s damages. This period of time may be shorter than the amount of time it takes to resolve the claim and the rental company will apply the charges to your credit card. If this happens you have to file a claim with the at-fault driver to be reimbursed for those charges. 

What Does the Rental Car Insurance Cover?

Rental companies have different supplemental insurance coverages that you can purchase for some extra dollars per day. These are the most common types of insurance that are offered by the renter:

  • Collision Damage: If the car is damaged or stolen, this insurance will cover the repair costs and other fees.
  • Liability: This additional coverage will protect you in the event that you were at fault and a personal injury lawsuit is brought against you. The coverage amount varies depending on the rental company, but it is normally $1 million.
  • Personal accident insurance: This add-on pays for your medical expenses if you were injured in a car accident while using a rental car. 
  • Personal effects coverage: All of your personal belongings that you have in the car are covered by this insurance policy. 

Does my Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

If you currently have auto insurance, most of the time it will cover accident-related expenses in a rental car accident. However, if you are unsure, you should contact your insurance provider and obtain all of the specifics about your insurance policy coverage before renting a vehicle.It is fairly typical for supplementary insurance coverage provided by rental businesses to be unnecessary if you already have car insurance. As a result, it is critical that you carefully study your insurance policy to avoid paying for coverage that you do not require. Furthermore, you may discover that you will need to acquire one of the insurance plans offered by the rental company because your current policy may not include that exact coverage.

NYC Rental Car Accident Lawyer

Rental car accidents are more complex than other kinds of accidents. The extra paperwork, having another company involved in all the processes and the usual procedures make the claiming process longer and stressful. If you have been involved in a car accident and you are not sure of what are the steps that you will have to follow or if you simply feel that you need legal assistance, do not hesitate in contacting a car accident lawyer. At Greenberg & Stein P.C. Our car accident attorneys can help you with your case. They will not only guide you through the process but they will also represent you and negotiate with the insurance company and in court if needed. Our legal team has represented countless people in the same situation as you and they have been fairly compensated with our representation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys right now, call 212-969-8770 to review your case.