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Who Is Responsible for the Rental Car in an Accident?

A car rental accident scene.

Getting into an accident is a terrible experience. Even if you’re lucky enough to not get injured, dealing with insurance companies is an arduous process. And if your car needs repairs, you may be worried about how you’ll get around. If the car you were driving was a rental, that’s yet another thing to have to think about. So, Who is responsible for the rental car in an accident? If you were driving a rental, or you need one because your car is in the shop, we can answer that for you. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you sort through the issues.

Does Car Insurance Cover a Rental Car After an Accident?

Your own auto insurance policy may cover a rental for you while your car is at the shop after an accident. Keep in mind that may hurt your own premiums to turn to your insurance company for a rental car. However, if you are suing the other driver’s insurance company, it may be a while before you see any money for the incident. Your auto insurance company may provide you with a rental and go after the other company for reimbursement. Or you may have to cover the costs yourself and then add the costs of the rental to your claim for damages against the other driver. It will all depend on what’s in your own insurance policy and the circumstances of the accident. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you sort through the issues.

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Who Pays If I Get into an Accident While Driving a Rental Car?

When you rent a car in Oregon, you have to have a minimum of liability insurance. Regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident, you’ll likely still owe the rental car company for damages to the car. You have a contract with the rental company to return the car in the same condition, and they’re entitled to have their car fixed. The most common ways to get coverage are through the rental company, your own insurance company, or your credit card company. You might also have some amount of coverage through your homeowner’s insurance or health insurance policy.

Insurance from the Rental Company

You can pay an additional daily amount for insurance coverage provided by the rental company itself. The optional insurance covers most possible expenses, i.e. damage to the car, medical expenses, and liability if you are sued.

Your Own Auto Insurance Policy

You could already have rental car insurance covered by your current auto insurance policy, especially if you have comprehensive coverage. You’ll have to check your policy or speak to your insurance agent to know for sure because every company is different. They also handle reimbursement differently. Some companies may require you to pay out of pocket and then wait for reimbursement after an insurance settlement. Others may have a contract in place with the rental company where your insurance company gets the bill.

The Credit Card Used for the Rental

Often the credit company you used for the rental will provide rental car insurance. However, most times this coverage is only for expenses related to the car. It won’t cover medical costs or liability.

Oregon Fault Laws

Oregon is a fault-based insurance state. If you are in an accident with another driver, the at-fault party is financially responsible for the damages and injuries. It is possible in any type of auto vehicle accident case that the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, in which case your uninsured motorist policy should cover your damages and the cost of your rental.

If you are in an auto vehicle accident in Oregon, it’s important that you not admit any fault at any point. You need to be very careful about any statements you make, especially to the other drivers, their insurance company, or the police. Even if you really were not responsible for the accident, they can turn what you say into an admission and reduce the amount of financial damages you can claim later.

Oregon is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that no one can be more than half at fault for an accident if they are claiming damages. A judge or jury assigns each party their degree of fault. Each party’s damages are reduced by that percentage. For example, if you have $50,000 in damages but you are 10% at fault, you will receive $40,000 as an award, or 90% of the total.

What to Do After an Accident

If you get into an accident, you must call the police and file your report. Then get the other driver’s contact and insurance information. If you were driving a rental, you must call the rental company and let them know what happened. They will likely also have you fill out an incident report. If you were not the at-fault party, you would then contact the other driver’s insurance company to make a claim.

At this stage, it would be wise to talk to an injury attorney. Your attorney can give you guidance on what you should and should not say to the insurance company. They will also handle all the negotiations. They will gather evidence about the accident and make a clear argument as to why the defendant was negligent and caused the accident. They will build up a strong case in defense of the amount of damages you are claiming. If they are not able to get you a fair settlement, they will take your case to court. You are already at a disadvantage when you are dealing with the insurance company because negotiating these settlements is their job. Your legal practitioner is also familiar with the process and will make sure you get fair compensation.

Contact D’Amore Law Group

The D’Amore Law Group will help you navigate the legal process. We are experienced trial lawyers that represent people who suffered because of someone else’s carelessness. We litigate all types of personal injury cases. You can visit our practice areas page to see the types of matters we handle. If you need to speak to a lawyer after an auto vehicle accident, please contact us today to discuss your situation.

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