Traffic Collisions In Rental Cars In Maricopa County 

Whether you are just here to visit or your car is in the shop, rental cars can provide a convenient alternative to public transportation and ride-sharing. Unfortunately, it can add another layer of stress if you are involved in a car accident while driving a rental car. You may also be wondering how being in a rental car could affect your potential personal injury claim after a traffic accident in Maricopa County, Arizona. To schedule your free phone consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix-area injury lawyers, call 480-833-8000

 A personal injury lawyer at a desk with a pen in hand, scales of justice, a notebook, and a gavel, related to cases involving rental cars.

Rental Car Insurance

When you rent a vehicle, you will be provided with options in liability insurance coverage. Many people skip this step, assuming that they will not get in an accident or another insurance policy will apply. Plenty of drivers have insurance policies beyond the state minimum that can apply to rental vehicles, or their credit card companies may provide free insurance coverage on vehicles rented using a credit card. If you have state minimum auto coverage and don’t have any other types of liability coverage to your knowledge, it may become important to understand what you are agreeing to or declining when selecting your rental insurance coverage. Some of the specific terms when it comes to rental car insurance include:

  • Personal Effects Coverage: Personal effects are items that you have with you in the car that could be damaged in a traffic collision. If you are traveling with expensive items, such as a laptop and electronic equipment for your job or sporting gear for your hobbies and interests, you may want to purchase personal effects coverage in case you are in a rental car accident. This type of insurance can also be used if the rental car is stolen along with your personal effects. 
  • Collision Damage Waiver: This term can be abbreviated to CDW and is often used interchangeably with Loss Damage Waiver, or LDW. This type of insurance can repair or replace a vehicle that is damaged or stolen while in the renter’s possession. There are several factors that can impact the cost of this coverage, such as the type of vehicle and the area in which the purchaser plans to drive the vehicle. 
  • Personal Injury Insurance: Proceeding with a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your medical treatments after a traffic collision can be a long and arduous process. This type of insurance can step in and pay those expenses, at least while you are waiting for a personal injury claim to be settled. If you do eventually receive compensation from the other driver (or the other driver’s insurance company), your personal injury insurance provider may need to be compensated through subrogation. 
  • Liability Insurance: If you purchase liability insurance when you rent a car, this will cover you in the event that you cause an accident while driving the rental vehicle. If you damage another vehicle and injure another person in addition to yourself, the expenses from an accident can add up quickly. 

When The Rental Company May Be Liable

It is difficult to pursue a rental company directly for damages caused by one of their rented vehicles. The owner of a rental vehicle, or the rental company, is protected from liability by the Graves Amendment when there is no wrongdoing or negligence present on their part. If someone rents a vehicle and decides to text or speed and cause an accident, this is attributable to the driver and their insurance provider. But there are some circumstances that can indicate negligence and/or wrongdoing on a rental company’s part. A rental company has an obligation to keep their vehicles properly maintained. If the rental company was notified by a customer upon returning a vehicle that it had poor brakes and then rented that vehicle out again without having it inspected by a mechanic, this would assist the plaintiff in a personal injury claim if that vehicle’s brake issues were to cause an accident. The insurance company also has an obligation to make sure that anyone who rents a vehicle is qualified to do so, i.e., has a driver’s license. If a plaintiff can prove that the rental company didn’t adhere to these standard practices, the rental company won’t be protected by the Graves Amendment and can be named as the defendant in an injury claim. 

What If I Am Injured As The Passenger In a Rental Vehicle?

You can bring a personal injury claim whether you are the driver or passenger in a rental vehicle. You will need to check and see which insurance policies will apply to your injuries as a passenger. The person who rented the vehicle may have purchased insurance to cover any injuries to their passengers while driving the rental vehicle. If another driver was at fault for the accident, their insurance company would be liable for your damages. If you have MedPay coverage on your own auto insurance policy, you can even use this insurance to pay for medical bills incurred as the passenger of a rental vehicle. As mentioned above, your own insurance coverage may need to be subrogated if you are compensated for medical expenses through an injury claim. For more information about which insurance policies to use after being injured as the passenger in a rental car accident in Maricopa County, call 480-833-8000 for your free consultation. 

What Types Of Damages Can I Pursue?

If you are unaware of the damages you are entitled to before you bring your personal injury claim, you could miss out on compensation that could have been obtained for you by an experienced accident lawyer. The damages you may be eligible to collect will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. You should discuss your situation with a Maricopa County accident lawyer before bringing your claim so that you can assure that you have demanded every possible expense. They can include:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Anticipated future medical expenses
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of companionship/consortium
  • Costs of repairing or replacing damaged property
  • Household services during the plaintiff’s recovery period
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Punitive damages: only awarded at trial to penalize defendant for their conduct

Skillful Legal Representation For Your Maricopa County Rental Accident Claim

If you have been injured while in a rental vehicle in Maricopa County, you probably have several questions about pursuing an accident claim. Having additional corporations involved will only make a personal injury lawsuit more complicated. Insurance companies are never eager to pay out on injury claims, even in situations where a customer has paid extra for that peace of mind while renting a vehicle. Our experienced lawyers offer reliable representation so you can focus on getting back to life as usual while we take part of the legal complexities involved with a personal injury claim. Don’t let the insurance companies get away with paying you less than your claim is worth. Our injury team will make sure you are fairly compensated with as little stress as possible. To start the process with your free consultation by phone, contact us at My Az Personal Injury Lawyer or call 480-833-8000

Published On: March 22nd, 2024Categories: Personal injury