A truck accident involving a 2017 Ford box truck and a 2016 Volvo 18-wheeler was reported at the intersection of Russell Parkway and GA 247 on February 4, 2020 by the Georgia State Patrol. Accident investigators determined that the box truck failed to yield to the 18-wheeler, striking the left side of the 18-wheeler as the truck traveled South on GA 247.
Thankfully, no injuries to the drivers or any passengers were reported. From the pictures taken at the accident scene, the box truck appears to be a U-Haul truck, which raises the question of how liability is determined in the event of an accident involving a rental vehicle.
In general, renters are responsible for returning the vehicle in the same condition as when they received it. There are 3 different ways renters can cover possible damage to the vehicle:
- Purchasing insurance from the vehicle rental company
- Using their personal auto insurance
- Using their credit card to pay for the rental
Rental company insurance
Most often car and truck rental companies offer insurance that includes collision damage, liability, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage. If there’s damage to the vehicle while you’re renting it, these policies can help cover liability and expenses.
Also known as a loss damage waiver, collision damage can provide coverage for a rental vehicle that’s been damaged, stolen, or is out of use while being repaired, towed, and other fees. This may become void if the accident was caused by negligence, such as speeding or driving while intoxicated, or driving on unpaved roads.
But if you carry comprehensive and collision auto insurance, you may already be covered for damage to the rental car or truck.
Liability insurance is the most important if you’re found to be at-fault. It covers any lawsuit related to your use of the rental vehicle. So, if you’re driving a rental and are at-fault for a collision, you should be covered by this insurance.
Rental car or truck companies are required by law to offer this type of insurance, but it doesn’t always provide enough protection. Unless you’re a frequent renter, it might be a better option to use your own insurance.
Personal accident insurance
Personal accident insurance is similar to personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical expenses and ambulance bills in the event a driver or passenger in a rental car or truck is injured during an accident.
Personal effects coverage
Personal effects coverage is an add-on policy that allows renters to recover any personal items that might be lost or damaged in the event of an accident, such as luggage, electronics, and other personal items.
How to determine who’s liable in a rental vehicle accident
When you rent a car, van or truck, you’re responsible for the vehicle until you return it to the company. A good rule of thumb is to treat it as if it were your own vehicle and always notify the rental company. Before work is done to make repairs, contact the rental company for approval.
Having car insurance, especially your own, and policy add-ons can help you cover costs if you’re liable for a rental car or truck accident. Just like any auto accident, call the police to report the accident and let them investigate to determine who’s liable.
Calling a Georgia auto accident attorney can also help
Handling the aftereffects of a car or truck accident, especially when you’re driving a rental vehicle, can be stressful. Since you’re also having to coordinate with the rental company, it might also be less straightforward and involve more paperwork.
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, the rental company may charge the credit card you used in order to help pay for damages, and you’ll have to file a separate claim against the other driver in order to be reimbursed.
The Georgia accident lawyers at the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson understand that a car or truck accident, especially one when you’re driving a rental vehicle, is often exhausting and nerve-wracking. Our team of legal advisors want you to know that you’re not alone.
If you’ve been involved in a crash while driving a rental vehicle, call one of our offices today for your free initial consultation. Conveniently located in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins, our team has represented drivers in Georgia for over 50 years, and we’ll sit down with you to determine the best options for your case.