Getting into a car accident is traumatic enough on its own. But when that accident happens in a rental car, it can add even more complexity and stress to an already difficult situation. At Pasternack Injury Law Group, we’ve handled hundreds of rental car accident cases. We know the unique challenges these types of crashes can bring—and how to help injury victims get the compensation they deserve.

When you’re driving an unfamiliar rental car in a new city, it can be all too easy for an accident to happen. Fault and liability questions can quickly become complicated when a rental car is involved. Our team can conduct a thorough investigation of your crash to determine who is at fault. We have extensive experience negotiating with rental car companies and their insurance providers to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents

Rental car crashes can be caused by a number of factors. Some common causes we see include:

Driver Negligence

One major cause of rental car accidents is fundamental driver error. Drivers who are unfamiliar with their rental car’s handling, features, and blind spots are more likely to lose control or make a mistake that leads to a collision.

Distracted driving behaviors like phone use and eating while driving also contribute heavily to rental car crashes. Impaired driving continues to be one of the leading predictors of all types of motor vehicle accidents, and sadly, rental cars are no exception. Excessive speeding and general recklessness also play a prominent role.

Rental Car Defects

Defective auto parts can lead to loss of control and collisions in any vehicle. However, the excessive wear and tear that rental cars endure makes them particularly prone to certain flaws. Problems with tires, brakes, and steering components are some of the most common rental car defects we encounter in our cases. When a dangerous design flaw or lack of proper maintenance leads to an accident, the rental company may share liability.

Hazardous Road Conditions

Rental car drivers may be less familiar with the local road conditions in an unfamiliar area. Hazards like construction zones, poorly maintained roads, missing signage, and dangerous weather can all contribute to rental car crashes. These factors may affect the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely.

Types of Injuries From Rental Car Collisions

The injuries suffered in rental car accidents are often just as severe and catastrophic as those from crashes involving privately owned cars.

Some of the most common severe injuries we see include:

  • Traumatic Brain and Head Injuries – Brain injuries like concussions and internal bleeding can have life-long physical, cognitive, and psychological effects. Even mild head trauma can result in disabling headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and concentration issues.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Spinal cord damage frequently occurs in high-impact crashes if the vertebrae are fractured or misaligned. Permanent paralysis and loss of function are common outcomes.
  • Broken Bones – Fractures, dislocations, and shattered bones can require extensive surgery and therapy to heal properly. Complete recovery may not be possible, especially for older victims.
  • Internal Organ Damage – Collision forces can rupture or crush internal organs like the liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs. Massive internal bleeding, organ failure, and other critical complications can develop rapidly after this type of injury.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Many accident victims develop ongoing PTSD and other mental health conditions. Flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and difficulty coping with everyday life are common symptoms.

The aftereffects of these severe injuries can prevent accident victims from ever fully returning to work and other daily activities they previously enjoyed. Their quality of life and that of their family members may be forever diminished without adequate compensation.

Seeking Compensation for Rental Car Accidents

Recovering damages from a rental car accident is essential to cover the immediate and ongoing medical costs victims frequently incur. Other losses like lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering also must be addressed. Obtaining fair compensation can be complex when a rental car is involved.

What compensation is available in rental car accident claims? Several common types of damages can be sought. These include past and future medical expenses to cover bills for hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, in-home care, and other treatments related to crash injuries. Lost income to account for wages lost while recovering from injuries is also often awarded, as well as potentially reduced future earnings if disabilities are permanent.

Property damage to repair or replace vehicles and other personal items damaged in the collision is also possible. Finally, monetary compensation for pain and suffering helps account for physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and reduced quality of life resulting from the accident.

Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to analyze liability and preserve volatile evidence like the rental vehicle.

Should I Report the Rental Car Accident to My Insurance?

The requirements for reporting a rental car accident to your own insurance company can vary based on the situation:

  • If you purchased the rental company’s temporary insurance policy or damage waiver, you may not need to report the accident to your own insurer. The rental company’s policy would act as primary coverage. However, it’s generally still a good idea to contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident, even if you have the rental company’s coverage.
  • If there is any chance you could need or want to file a claim through your own policy, you would want to report it. For example, if the rental company’s policy has low limits or the accident caused injuries.
  • If you did not purchase the rental company’s insurance/damage waiver and are relying on your own policy for coverage, you need to report the accident to your insurer right away, just as you would any accident.
  • If you’re unsure if the rental company’s policy should apply or your own, it’s best to report to both insurers so you fully comply with all requirements.

In summary – while the rental car agency’s policy may provide the coverage needed to exempt you from reporting in some cases, it’s a good idea to notify your own insurer anytime you’re in an accident, just to be safe. An experienced attorney can also provide guidance on this issue.

Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

Pursuing a rental car accident injury claim without professional legal representation puts you at a disadvantage. An experienced car accident lawyer can help level the playing field by acting as your advocate in many crucial ways:

  • Investigating the accident thoroughly to pinpoint the cause and liable party beyond initial police reports.
  • Dealing with insurers so you can focus on recovery rather than fighting with insurance adjusters seeking to minimize your payout.
  • Determining the full value of your claim and crafting a demand supported by evidence of all past and future losses.
  • Negotiating aggressively to win you the maximum settlement possible under California law.
  • Litigating your case if needed to convince insurers your claim must be taken seriously.
  • Managing paperwork and deadlines throughout the process to take the burden off your shoulders.

Recovering from an accident while fighting for the compensation you need can be a full-time job. An accomplished personal injury lawyer has the resources and rental car accident litigation experience to take on this responsibility for you.

Contact a San Diego Rental Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a rental car accident, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Pasternack Injury Law Group are here to help. With years of experience and a proven track record of success, our family-owned firm has the resources to build a strong case against rental companies, drivers, and insurers alike.

We know how traumatic these accidents can be, and we will fight to get you the maximum compensation so you can focus on healing and recovery. Don’t wait – contact our compassionate team for a free consultation today. Our experienced rental car accident attorneys won’t rest until you get the rental car accident settlement you deserve.