Liability for Pennsylvania Rental Car Accidents

April 10, 2021

rental car accident liability Pittsburgh, PA

Determining liability for injuries and losses from a rental car accident can be a complex matter, especially since rental cars can have various forms of insurance coverage. In addition, fault for the accident can also affect liability for injuries and expenses.

After being injured in a rental car accident, understanding your legal rights and options can require reviewing complex fine print. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses.

Determining Fault for the Accident

Establishing which driver or party was at fault for a crash is the first step in determining liability for your injuries and losses. If the other driver clearly caused the accident, such as by rear-ending your rental car, you would likely be entitled to recover compensation from that driver’s insurance. 

However, other situations may make fault a little more murky. For example, a driver may have changed lanes in front of your rental car, but you may have been distracted while looking at your phone for turn-by-turn directions. In circumstances such as this, insurance companies may need to take a closer look at the details of the crash and may assign fault for the accident to both you and the other driver. 

Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car Accident

When you rent a car, you may have various options for insurance in the event you get into an accident. You will typically be offered the option to purchase insurance from the rental car company, or in certain circumstances you may be required to purchase insurance coverage unless you can establish that you have insurance coverage from another source, such as your personal auto insurance policy. You might also be entitled to access insurance coverage from your credit card company when you use your card to pay for the rental; however, credit card coverage may only be secondary to insurance coverage from the car rental company or your personal auto insurance, meaning credit card coverage only kicks in once you’ve exhausted other insurance.

Types of insurance coverage available for car rentals include:

  • Loss damage waiver/collision damage waiver – Provides coverage in the event the rental car is damaged or stolen, which includes repair costs, cash value if the car is lost, and “loss of use” damages sustained by the car rental company since the company does not have the car available to rent out.
  • Liability insurance – Provides coverage in the event you cause injury or property damage. You may be able to use your own auto policy even when driving a rental, or you may be provided or given the opportunity to purchase liability insurance from the rental company.
  • Collision/comprehensive – Provides coverage for damage; if you have this coverage under your personal auto insurance policy, it may also cover any rental cars you are driving.
  • Personal injury protection – Provides compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Your own auto insurance policy likely includes PIP coverage, and you may also be offered the opportunity to purchase additional, similar coverage directly from the car rental company.

Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of auto accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a  consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.