If you’re injured by the negligence of another driver who is behind the wheel of a rental car, it can make a complicated matter seem more so. The fact of the matter is, however, that driver negligence is driver negligence regardless of whether the negligent driver is behind the wheel of his or her own car or behind the wheel of a rental. What does vary, however, is the insurance company from which you will seek just compensation. If this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, turn to an experienced Texas vehicle accident attorney for the help you need.
What’s In This Guide
- Rental Car Accident Statistics
- If the Other Driver Is in a Rental Car
- A Note about the Insurance Company
Rental Car Accident Statistics
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not differentiate between rental cars and those that are owned by their drivers, it does share a wide range of important statistics related to car accidents that reflect rental car accidents as well. Consider all the following:
- One: In 2020, 38,824 people died in car accidents on roadways throughout the country. This is a nearly 7 percent increase over 2019 and is the largest number of traffic fatalities since 2007.
- Two: The number of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled in 2020 saw a 21 percent increase over 2019 and represents the single largest increase on record.
Additional key findings related to statistical changes from 2019 to 2020 include:
- Three: In most categories of traffic accidents, the fatality rate increased.
- Four: Fatality rates for speeding, alcohol impairment, and failure to use a seat belt all increased.
- Five: Fatalities in urban settings increased by 8.5 percent, and they increased by 2.3 percent in rural settings.
- Six: The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who were under the age of 65 increased.
- Seven: The biggest increase in fatalities was for those aged 10 to 64, but those aged 25 to 34 experienced the largest overall increase with 1,117 additional deaths.
- Eight: While fatalities in the daytime increased by 1.4 percent, fatalities at night increased by 12 percent.
- Nine: The District of Columbia and 42 states saw increases in their traffic fatality numbers.
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If the Other Driver Is in a Rental Car
If the driver who causes you to be injured is in a rental car, it changes your claim in the sense that you may have to file with more than one insurance provider, which complicates an already complicated process.
The Rental Car Company’s Coverage
When the at-fault driver rented the rental car in question, some insurance came with the purchase (although this automatic coverage is unlikely to include liability coverage). The rental company does, however, offer very comprehensive liability coverage for purchase, and if the driver who caused you to be injured bought this coverage, your accident claim will likely go through this policy.
Coverage through the Credit Card
The credit card the driver used to pay for the rental car can also provide valuable secondary coverage, which means that it kicks in after the driver’s own coverage is exhausted. This coverage varies considerably and depends upon the card used and any additional options paid for by the card carrier.
The Driver’s Own Coverage
Generally, the driver’s own coverage is first at bat, and any overages will go through the additional coverage offered or purchased. This means that you may need to go through more than one insurance provider to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. While this makes the process more complicated, obtaining just compensation that addresses your losses (or legal damages) in their entirety is important to your ability to fully heal.
A Note about the Insurance Company
Obtaining fair compensation generally comes down to negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which makes it important to touch on the topic of the insurance company. The insurance company – regardless of which one or how many are involved – is in business to make money. This means that it may engage in some questionable practices in its efforts to keep your settlement as low as it can.
Making an Early Offer
The insurance company may make you a settlement offer right out of the gate. While simply accepting it is the easiest path forward (and you may be getting nervous about how you are going to cover your associated expenses that continue to mount), this is unlikely to do you any favors. Early offers tend to be made in the hope that claimants will accept before the full extent of their losses is clear, which means that early settlement offer is unlikely to cover your complete losses. Having a settlement offer greenlighted by a dedicated car accident attorney prior to signing is always the best course of action.
Overly Complicating the Process
Insurance companies are bound by industry standards and regulations that attempt to keep them on the straight and narrow, but some insist on pushing the envelope. One common tactic is making the claims process so artificially lengthy or complicated (or both) that claimants tend to give up hope. If the insurance company or companies you’re dealing with try such a stunt, your car accident attorney will help them see the light (in terms of the laws they’re required to follow).
The insurance company handling your claim may turn around and say that the accident was actually your fault – or primarily your fault. Fault in the matter is determined by the facts and evidence involved, and the insurance company’s interpretation may be very different than the law’s (which is the final fact finder). Don’t be frightened by such tactics, you have legal rights, and your car accident attorney is there to protect them.
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Don’t Delay Consulting with an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney
If a negligent driver in a rental car leaves you injured, the savvy Texas car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm know how to help. Your recovery is. paramount, so please don’t put off contacting or calling us at 361-400-2036 for more information today.