It wasn’t your fault. The other driver caused the accident that destroyed your car and possibly injured you. But now, you are left to deal with the consequences: How will I get to work? How will I pick up my kids? How will I get to the grocery store?
The first answer that may come to your mind is that you can rent a car. But who is responsible for a rental car in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Below, we discuss your options and how to get a rental car after an accident.
THE OTHER DRIVER IS AT FAULT. CAN I GET A RENTAL CAR?
If you were involved in an accident in which another is responsible for damage to your vehicle, you deserve a rental car to serve as a stand-in while the car is repaired or replaced. There is legal precedent to back this up.
Back in 1981, a plaintiff in Jefferson County sued for property damage, including the reasonable rental value of a replacement car while his vehicle was being repaired. The vehicle owner was not at fault, and the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that the plaintiff was entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of renting a replacement vehicle. The Court found that a vehicle is a necessity for every person, especially a family.
But what if you cannot wait until your case is settled to get a rental car? You may have much faster options for getting your rental car covered after your not at fault accident. Read on to learn about the best course of action.
STEPS FOR GETTING A RENTAL CAR AFTER A NOT AT FAULT ACCIDENT
In a car accident where the other driver is at fault, a rental car is the bare minimum of what you deserve to help you get your life back in order. The following steps can help you get a rental car soon after your crash.
1. GET INFORMATION FROM THE AT-FAULT DRIVER
This is extremely important: As soon as you have checked yourself and passengers for injuries and moved your vehicle to a safe location near the accident, you need to get the at-fault driver’s name, address, vehicle registration, and insurance information.
Without this information, the driver could disappear after the accident, limiting your options for getting a rental or pursuing compensation for your crash. The driver is required by law to remain on the scene and provide this information to you, so they must cooperate.
2. CALL THE POLICE
Calling the police after your crash is essential if you are seeking a rental car. Keep in mind, too, that you are legally required to call the police if the accident caused injuries or deaths.
If the police respond to the scene and create a police report, this report can later be a helpful tool in determining who pays for the rental car after the accident.
3. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Tell them what happened so they are aware that you may make a claim in the near future. Before taking any other steps with your insurer, contact an attorney who can ensure you are getting fair treatment.
WHO PAYS FOR A RENTAL CAR AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
Understanding who is responsible for a rental car in an accident is a crucial step in the process. In Alabama, you have two basic options for getting a rental car covered after a not at fault accident: insurance or the at-fault driver.
Because Alabama is a fault state for auto insurance, the other driver’s insurer may have to cover the costs of your rental car — either through a direct claim made with them or through your own insurance company that passes the costs of the rental car to them.
Keep in mind that insurers are notorious for manipulating accident victims into saying the wrong thing so that they may not have to cover damages and expenses like rental cars. That is why you must never admit fault to the insurance company. Additionally, you should direct the other driver’s insurer to speak with your attorney if they contact you directly.
Another option to examine is your own insurance policy. Some insurance policies have built-in rental car coverage, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
THE AT-FAULT DRIVER
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or your crash results in a car accident lawsuit, it may be the at-fault driver who is responsible for the rental car in your accident. In this situation, the compensation for your rental car might not come until you receive a settlement or court verdict in your lawsuit.
HOW LONG CAN I KEEP MY RENTAL CAR AFTER THE ACCIDENT?
You have a lot of car repairs or maybe even some car shopping to do, so you may be wondering, “How long can I keep my rental car after the accident?”
The answer depends heavily on the details of your situation. If an auto mechanic says it will take two weeks to repair your car, this is the likely amount of time you will be allowed to keep the rental car. If your car was totaled, the insurance company might have a set amount of time that is considered “reasonable” for you to purchase a new car.
But how long will insurance pay for a rental car after an accident? Most large insurers will pay around $30 per day for around 30 days, according to Car and Driver. If you are going through insurance for your rental car, check your policy for details.
YOUR VEHICLE IS DAMAGED (OR WORSE). NOW WHAT?
A qualified Huntsville car accident attorney from Warren & Simpson can help you get your rental car and all other damages covered after your accident. We help real people like you with real problems. Because of our trusted reputation and winning track record, insurance companies know they won’t be able to push around our clients.
Contact an experienced attorney today by calling 256-539-7575 or filling out our online contact form.