RENTAL CAR ACCIDENTS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

You didn’t anticipate a crash in your rental car, but now you have many questions you want answered. The Columbia, SC, rental car accident attorney at the Louthian Law Firm knows the law, and our team is ready to get you the payment you need to cover the many costs you’re facing.

These cases can be complex, but an experienced rental car accident attorney will handle your claim, so you can focus on your health and recovery. Contact the Louthian Law Firm today by calling (803) 454-1200 or filling out our online contact form.

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WHAT YOU’RE ENTITLED TO AFTER A RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT

If your crash was caused by a careless driver, then you are likely entitled to payment for the many costs you’ve encountered in a crash. Though the insurance coverage you carry, in addition to the coverage you purchased when renting the vehicle, plays a role in how you go about getting the payment you need, there are almost always options available to make sure you have compensation that meets your needs.

Through an injury claim, you can seek payment for…

  • Costs of medical care (hospitalization, ongoing tests, treatment, medications, rehab, etc.)
  • Property damage suffered in the accident
  • Lost income due to diminished work capacity or time missed at work
  • The physical and mental suffering you’ve experienced.

To avoid being financially burdened by a rental car accident, it’s important to know the true costs you’re facing after a wreck. At the Louthian Law Firm, we help clients review all the expenses they’ve encountered, so they can be sure they get the payment they need.

We also know that physical and mental suffering our clients are facing deserves significant attention. The damages you’ll seek must include all “non-economic” damages. Though these damages might not seem as obvious as the financial ones, we can help you find an amount that accounts for all the consequences of your crash.

CAR RENTALS ARE BIG BUSINESS

Car rental companies generate a lot of money. In 2015, the annual US revenue for all car rental agencies amounted to more than $27 billion, with 2.18 million vehicles rented out.  Companies keep large numbers of vehicles, called fleets, to serve the needs of customers.

With regard to charges, there is a base rate to which other costs are added, such as state and local taxes. On top of that, optional coverages are offered and often are called insurance, although technically they are not insurance.

The Four Basic Kinds Of Optional Coverage Are:

  1. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), also known as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), covers the cost of repairing the damage to the rental car if an accident should occur. Where these two waivers are offered separately, CDW covers damage that occurs while the vehicle is moving (i.e., a collision), and LDW covers other damage to the vehicle, such as vandalism.
  2. Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP), also known as Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI), covers the renter for any personal liability incurred when an accident damages property or causes bodily injury to people in other vehicles.
  3. Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) covers the medical and ambulance costs and death benefits for the renter and passengers in the rental vehicle in case of an accident.
  4. Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) insures the renter’s and passengers’ personal belongings inside the rental car against theft or damage, up to a certain dollar amount.

By the time you arrive at the rental counter, it is best to know whether you want to purchase any of these coverages. Often, you are already covered for many of these situations by your personal automobile insurance policy. However, don’t assume; make sure you know what your coverage is by checking your personal policy before you rent a car.

Be aware that your personal auto insurance will not cover any deductibles when it comes to your rental car’s damage or theft loss. Nor will your insurance cover any “loss of use” charges, meaning that the rental car company can charge you for the income they lost because the car was not available to other renters due to repairs. You may be charged for other fees and costs as well, depending on what your policy states.

Major credit cards often offer coverage as long as you use the card to pay for the rental. Sometimes the coverage is secondary, meaning it kicks in only after your primary insurance has paid their share. Again, make sure you are clear on what coverage your credit card offers if you plan to use it.

If you do not own a car, or otherwise do not have a personal automobile policy that covers rentals, you might consider purchasing the CDW/LDW, SLP, and PAI coverages to prevent the potentially enormous bills if you are involved in an accident.

In case you were wondering—car rental companies do make money by offering these policies, but it is not the primary source of profits for them.

MAKE ONE OF YOUR FIRST CALLS TO AN EXPERIENCED RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

As you can see, there are several things to consider when seeking payment for a rental car accident. The last thing you want to do is accept an offer that fails to meet the costs you’re actually facing. A rental car accident attorney will review your case to determine how much you’re owed and make sure you are given payment that reflects that amount.

Attorneys deal with insurance companies on your behalf. If you are contacted by any insurance company that isn’t your own, it’s important that you not give them a statement. The only thing you should say to the insurance company representative is that they can contact your attorney.

Our team will review your insurance coverage and the contract you signed with the rental car company to determine fair compensation for your crash. Contact our Columbia, SC, rental car accident lawyer at the Louthian Law Firm by calling (803) 454-1200 or filling out our online contact form today.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE EVENT OF A RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT?

An accident while you are driving a rental car has the same ground rules as any other car accident. You should call the police, obtain medical treatment for those injured, trade information with the other driver, move vehicles out of the way of traffic if they can be moved, locate witnesses, and so on.

With regard to paying for damages to the rental vehicle, it all depends on the insurance you are using. If you purchased CDW/LDW coverage from the rental car company, keep in mind that your coverage could still be declared void if you broke any conditions in your rental agreement or if you broke the law while driving. Some examples of conditions under which your coverage could be revoked include:

  • Driving recklessly or negligently
  • Driving while impaired
  • Driving in a location where you are not authorized to drive (such as in another state)
  • Driving on an unpaved road
  • Allowing a driver not authorized on the rental contract to drive the car. You can be held liable for the damage an unauthorized driver does, even if you don’t give them the keys but leave the keys in a place that they can access. Violating the unauthorized driver provisions of a rental car contract generally revokes any liability protections and makes the renter responsible for all financial costs, penalties, and fees.
If you do not purchase CDW coverage, the Federal Trade Commission’s stance is that, by doing so, you automatically assume responsibility for any and all damages, up to the full value of the car.

WHEN COULD THE RENTAL CAR COMPANY BE LIABLE?

new federal law went into effect on June 1, 2016, that puts legal responsibility for an accident on the rental car company if they did not repair any open safety defects before they rented out the vehicle. Any company with a rental car fleet larger than 35 vehicles is prohibited from renting out un-repaired recalled vehicles, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigative and punitive powers now cover rental car companies and vehicular recalls. Thus, a rental car company could be legally responsible for an accident if the rental car had not been properly maintained or if it had an un-repaired safety defect that contributed to the accident.

A RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF THE SITUATION

Renting a car can be incredibly confusing. Various kinds of fees, along with waivers or insurances, can more than double the expected cost of your rental. On top of that, sometimes one of your credit cards claims that they will cover the costs of accidents, implying that you don’t need to purchase the extra insurance or waivers offered by the car rental companies. Or, perhaps you’re not sure what your own personal automotive insurance covers when it comes to rentals.

Automobile accidents are upsetting enough when it’s your own car. A rental can enormously complicate matters. If you’ve been injured in an accident that involved a rental car in South Carolina, contact our experienced rental car accidents lawyers at (803) 454-1200 or simply fill out our online contact form to get started.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER

Louthian Attorneys

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident that involved a rental car in South Carolina, it is important that you consider seeking legal help to navigate the complexities of the law. A rental car accident can have many parties, including insurers for the renter and for the other driver, the rental car company, and even the credit card company.

An experienced South Carolina rental car accident attorney can help you hold the necessary parties to their end of the bargain and collect the compensation you are entitled to. At the Louthian Law Firm we have defended the rights of accident victims and other injured South Carolinians since 1959, and we’re committed to providing personalized service to you while aggressively going after wrongdoers. And because we know how financially devastating an accident can be, we never charge you a dime until your case is won.

For a free initial consultation of your rental car accidents case, call us at (803) 454-1200. If you prefer, you can also fill out our online contact form.