Few experiences are quite as stressful as being involved in a car accident. Indeed, a car wreck in Alabama, even one that doesn’t involve catastrophic injuries, can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, and one that leaves the drivers with pressing questions regarding liability and recovering compensation for damages.
Fortunately, in the aftermath of a car accident, those involved can file a claim with their insurance company in order to pursue damages. But what happens if you are involved in an accident in Alabama in a rental car? Are you still able to recover compensation for any injuries or damage involved?
Determining Who is Responsible for Damages in a Rental Car Accident in Alabama
To begin, after an accident in a rental car, determining who is responsible for paying for damages it is necessary to look at the insurance policy purchased through the rental car agency. For example, many car rental companies provide a variety of insurance types, a handful of which are described in detail below:
- Loss damage waiver (LDW)– Loss damage waiver coverage limits the amount for which a driver is responsible in the event the car is damaged or stolen. In this case, a driver who purchased LDW would not be responsible for any of the damages sustained by the vehicle in an accident.
- Collision damage waiver (CDW)– Collision damage waiver is similar to loss damage waiver, although it only covers damages sustained in collisions, and not due to theft.
- Personal effects coverage (PEC)– Personal effects coverage is meant to provide compensation for damage to any personal effects damaged in a crash.
- Personal accident insurance (PAI)– Personal accident insurance provides coverage for any personal injuries sustained in a car accident.
Ultimately, the type and scope of insurance purchased through the rental car agency will help determine who is responsible for paying for damages in the aftermath of a crash. Because rental agreements are complex documents, anyone who has been involved in a wreck in a rental car should reach out to an attorney first before discussing the issue with a company representative. By allowing your lawyer to speak to the rental car agency on your behalf, you will help ensure your rights are protected as you work to recover compensation.
What Happens if I Didn’t Purchase Any of the Available Insurance Policies from the Rental Car Agency?
Of course, not everyone opts to purchase additional insurance policies when they choose to rent a car. Many believe that they will avoid an accident in a rental car, and, as such, don’t obtain additional coverage.
In this case, if a driver has chosen not to purchase additional insurance for a rental car, they will not likely be able to obtain any compensation through the rental car agency. That does not mean that they will be forced to pay for damages out of pocket, however. Instead, any personal insurance policy that the driver currently maintains will be applied in this situation. For example, if a driver involved in a rental car accident has a separate car insurance policy, this will be used to pay for damages. In this case, the driver will still be responsible for paying for their deductible; that being said, once this amount is covered, the policy should cover the rest. In order to be certain that an existing auto insurance policy will cover your damages, you should contact McPhillips Shinbaum for assistance.
If You Have Been in an Accident, It is in Your Best Interests to Contact an Alabama Accident Attorney
In general, if you have been involved in an accident in a rental car in Alabama, it is in your best interest to reach out to a skilled Alabama personal injury attorney, regardless of the situation. You may be contacted by insurance adjusters on behalf of the rental car agency, as well as your personal coverage provider, seeking to obtain a statement. In this situation, by communicating directly through your attorney you can protect your rights as you progress through the claims process.
If you need the assistance of a legal professional, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP by calling 334-262-1911 for a free case evaluation. Our dedicated Alabama attorneys are ready to begin working on your behalf immediately.