Renting a car can be a fun way to travel, especially if you rent a car that you otherwise wouldn’t own. Getting into an accident in a rental car, however, presents unique challenges for the driver of both vehicles due to insurance and ownership complications. This usually leads to rental car accidents being handled a bit differently than other accidents.
If you are involved in a rental car accident, consult a Chicago rental car lawyer for legal assistance in dealing with the accident, as well as the insurance companies and possible expenses. The process and subtle nuances of dealing with rental car insurance and repairs can be less stressful with legal support. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your situation with our legal team.
Causes of Rental Car Accidents
Rental car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. These reasons can include:
- Speeding: Speeding contributes to a large number of accidents since it changes how you have to drive. Many drivers in rental cars are not as careful about speeding, especially if they rented a sports car.
- Joyriding: Joyriding can be considered a form of intentionally reckless driving for fun. Joyriding is more common at night, and can lead to accidents when other cars are nearby.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving often leads to accidents. Rental car drivers are often more adventurous with their driving when they have a rental car.
- Mechanical problems: Rental cars tend to need more maintenance because they are driven longer and harder than other vehicles. While companies try to prevent mechanical issues, there is a greater chance of a rental car having problems.
- Driving an unfamiliar vehicle: Rental car accidents can happen when the driver is not familiar with the vehicle. For example, renting a truck requires a significant change in driving style.
- Driver error: Many rental care accidents happen because people just make simple mistakes.
There are other causes of rental car accidents not covered on this list. Rental car accidents can happen at any time, which is why they are covered by insurance. The Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking recommends making sure that you are covered before taking a rental car. Credit cards and insurance policies can offer some form of protection that is worth looking into.
Common Costs of Rental Car Accidents
Rental car accidents can result in a variety of costs that may not be entirely clear when you rent your car. These costs can include:
- Accident fees: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against taking rental cars with hidden fees. In some cases, these can include fees that are triggered by an accident, which could be on top of the usual repair costs for the vehicle.
- Insurance fees: Processing insurance claims can incur fees for specific actions. On top of that, there are insurance premiums that can increase after an accident.
- Repair costs: Insurance can cover a large segment of the repair costs, but may not cover all of it. You may be required to cover the additional costs out of pocket.
- Medical expenses: If you or the other driver is injured in the accident, covering the cost of medical expenses is necessary. Insurance can help with this but may not cover all of it.
- Legal fees: If you need to hire legal representation, these fees are generally not covered by insurance.
There are other costs associated with rental car accidents that are not included on this list. Rental car accidents can lead to more fees and costs than a regular car accident. To be sure that those costs are minimized, make sure you have good insurance coverage before you leave the rental car facility.
For a free legal consultation with a Rental Car Accidents Lawyer serving Chicago, call (800) 794-0444
Seeking Legal Action
After an accident, you will need to decide if you want to take legal action against the other driver. If you have expenses from the accident, then legal action may be the right choice to help you recover compensation for those expenses. Before you take legal action, it is important to discuss your case thoroughly with a lawyer. There are procedures and precedence that should be explored to see how your case should proceed.
Make sure you consult a lawyer as soon as possible since there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file the lawsuit. According to the Illinois General Assembly, you will have two years to file the lawsuit starting from the day of the accident barring certain circumstances. A Chicago rental car lawyer can develop a case and file a lawsuit within this time, provided he or she has enough advanced notice.
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Settlement vs. Trial
Taking legal action and waiting for a trial may be stressful. However, it is important to remember that most cases never go to trial. Going to trial can take a long time and in that time, many cases are settled out of court. The defendant usually offers the victim a settlement agreement, which you can choose to accept or renegotiate. Since both sides grow tired of waiting, an acceptable settlement agreement is usually negotiated to end the case early.
If you are offered a settlement agreement, have a lawyer review it before you agree to anything. In most cases, the initial settlement agreement is usually low and not enough to cover all of your expenses. This is especially true if you have long-term care needs as a result of the accident. Your lawyer can renegotiate the agreement to make sure you get a deal that fits your needs.
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Contact a Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you are in an accident with a rental car, then your next course of action should be to consult a Chicago rental car lawyer. Rental car accidents can be more complicated than other types of accidents. Having a lawyer on your side can improve your chances of winning a lawsuit. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your case with a team of legal professionals.