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What if I Have a Crash While Driving a Rental Car?

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Mar 22, 2022 in Car Accidents

if you have a rental car crashRental car crashes raise more questions about costs and liability than if you had an accident in your own vehicle. For instance, who pays for damages to the rental car? What about your medical costs if you were injured? Will there be other rental car costs that are not covered by insurance?  

Goldberg Finnegan has extensive experience helping accident victims, including those injured in rental car crashes. Our knowledgeable Silver Spring car accident lawyers are ready to protect your rights and help you seek the compensation you need.

Call our trusted law firm anytime, night or day to get started. Your initial case review carries no obligation, and it is completely free.

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Who is Liable for the Damages After a Crash With a Rental Car?

Determining liability for a rental car crash is no different than for other traffic accidents. Police who respond to the scene of the crash will investigate to determine fault by:

  • Investigating the crash scene, including where vehicles came to rest
  • Examining damage to each vehicle, as well as any debris and tire marks
  • Speaking with each driver involved to get their account of what happened
  • Getting a statement from bystanders or drivers who say they saw the crash
  • Checking for any traffic or dash cam footage that may tell more about the crash

It is important to remember that Maryland follows a pure contributory negligence system. This means, unfortunately, that if you share any liability for the crash then there is no case. Unfortunately, this law also gives insurers a strong incentive to find enough fault to get out of paying anything.

Does Maryland Car Insurance Protect Me if I Am in a Rental Car Crash?

Under Maryland law, all drivers must purchase a minimum amount of insurance, which includes:

  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage for one person in a single incident
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage for two more victims in one crash
  • $15,000 property damage

While policyholders may find their personal car insurance coverage also extends to a rental car. Rental car companies may also include this coverage in the rental car contract. However, before signing any rental car agreement, it is important to understand:

  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • What the insurance is agreeing to cover
  • Any supplemental insurance you are purchasing – or
  • Supplemental coverage your personal car insurance will extend to cover

For instance, you may want to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage. This insurance is optional in Maryland, but it is coverage worth considering. It covers any damage to your own vehicle and may also extend to provide that same coverage to a rental.

What if I Used My Credit Card for My Car Rental?
Many major credit card companies may provide coverage for any damage to your rental car. However, this is something you should confirm with the credit card company. Your credit card will not provide coverage for other damages.

So you will still need to seek a claim for additional losses, such as:

  • All related and necessary medical expenses you incurred
  • Lost wages if your injuries kept you from working
  • Pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages

Are There Other Rental Car Costs I Should Know About?

Rental companies may charge additional costs and administrative fees if you are in a collision that damages their vehicle. Purchasing the optional Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), releases you from paying for these costs. However, this waiver only applies to the damages to the rental car. It does not cover injuries or other property damage.

Other costs covered by a CDW may include:

  • Loss of use to the rental company while their vehicle is being repaired and cannot be rented.
  • Administrative and/or towing fees
  • Diminished value of the damaged rental car

What First Steps Should I Take After a Rental Car Crash?

As with any car crash, after calling 9-1-1, it is important to take steps to protect your best interests. Your top priority, however, is to protect your health and seek immediate medical care. Failing to do so could also make it harder to link your injuries to the crash later on. The insurance company can argue that you could have been injured elsewhere.

While at the scene of the crash, if you are physically able and it is safe to do so, you could try to gather some evidence, such as:

  • Crash scene photos (vehicle damage, debris in the road, tire marks, etc.)
  • Exchange contact details and insurance information with the other driver(s)
  • Obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses who saw the crash
  • Write down the approximate time and location of the crash
  • Note and photograph your own visible injuries
  • Look around from where you are to see if a traffic cam may have caught the crash

Call Our Trusted Law Firm for Legal Help After a Rental Car Crash

Once your injuries are stabilized, we strongly recommend seeking legal help, even before contacting your insurance company. Deadlines apply in every car crash claim, and it takes time to gather evidence and build a strong claim.

At Goldberg Finnegan, we understand that no two car crashes are the same and rental car crashes carry special concerns for all parties involved. Having a qualified attorney on your side can help to provide peace of mind and also greatly benefit your claim. Injured victims who have legal representation often recover more compensation after a car crash than those who do not.

Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (888) 213-8140

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