If the other driver in a car accident was driving a rental car, you must sort out complex liability and insurance issues. Thankfully, a lawyer can help you throughout this process, so you don’t have to face it alone.
What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident with a Rental Car Driver
Let’s jump into an overview of what you should do in this tricky situation.
Call Law Enforcement
You likely won’t know immediately that the other involved driver was driving a rental car. So this first step applies to any car accident you are involved in.
If your injuries don’t prevent you from doing so, call 9-1-1 and ask the police to come to the accident scene and make an official crash report. This will provide an assessment from an unbiased third party of who caused the accident and what happened.
You do not want a judge or jury to decide who is telling the truth between the rental car agency, the other driver, and you. The police report can serve as evidence about each vehicle, the parties, and who caused the collision. Therefore, it can become a crucial piece of evidence in your case.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
You should never delay getting medical attention after a car accident. If you wait to have a doctor evaluate and treat your wounds, the other driver might argue that your injuries did not happen in the crash. Time is of the essence when it comes to linking your wounds to the collision.
Sort Out Insurance Issues
When you find out the other driver was driving a rental car, you may wonder who will cover your losses. Does the other driver’s personal insurance policy cover the accident? What if they don’t have one or it does not adequately cover your losses? What about the rental car company’s insurance policy? Could your policy provide coverage, too?
When several possible insurance policies could provide coverage for losses, they may all point their fingers at each other and deny liability, leaving you unsure where to turn for help in covering your losses.
Thankfully, you do not have to sort out the coverage issues alone. You could work with a Maryland personal injury attorney on your injury claim, and they will handle problems like this for you.
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Never Admit Fault in a Maryland Car Accident Case
Maryland follows a pure contributory negligence rule, which bars people from collecting damages for accidents they had any part in causing. This means a careless individual could be 99 percent at fault and not have to pay you compensation for severe injuries you suffered in the accident if they can pin even one percent of the fault on you.
Because of the harsh consequences of the contributory negligence rule in our state, you should never admit fault in an accident. Even saying “sorry” can be a mistake. We encourage you to direct all communication with the insurance company and other involved parties through your lawyer—otherwise, you might accidentally say something you later regret.
Elements of Liability in Car Accident Cases
Your car accident attorney must prove all four of these factors to hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses:
- Duty of care. The other driver had a duty to obey traffic laws and drive safely.
- Breach of duty. The other driver breached their duty of care and put you in harm’s way. For example, let’s say they were driving while under the influence of alcohol. Driving while impaired is negligent because it violates the law.
- Causation. The other driver’s careless behavior must have caused the accident that injured you. In our example scenario, perhaps the other driver ran a red light and hit your car because of their alcohol impairment.
- Damages. Physical injuries satisfy this fourth and final factor of liability.
Establishing all of the required elements of liability is necessary to recover monetary damages in your personal injury claim. Your car wreck attorney can help you gather evidence of each element.
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Types of Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Cases
The categories of recoverable damages are the same in a collision with a rental car as with any other type of motor vehicle. Here are some examples of common types of monetary damages in Maryland car accident injury cases:
- Lost wages. If you missed paychecks when you could not work because of your injuries, you can seek compensation for lost wages.
- Medical bills. The reasonable cost of the treatment you needed for your wounds is usually compensable. These expenses can include the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctors, lab tests, diagnostic procedures, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Future lost wages. Devastating injuries could limit your activity long after you complete your medical treatments. If you have to reduce your working hours or take a lower-paying job because of problems like decreased strength, function, or range of motion, you have a financial loss.
- Pain and suffering. The physical discomfort and emotional distress of the crash and your injuries can be a recoverable loss.
The facts of your situation will determine what kinds of monetary damages you can pursue. Your car accident lawyer can help you investigate and calculate your losses.
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Maryland’s Statute of Limitations in Motor Vehicle Crash Cases
You do not want to wait too long after a collision with a rental car to take legal action. Doing so could cost you everything.
Maryland limits the time you have to file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the at-fault party. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101, you only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The same time limit applies to wrongful death lawsuits, according to Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-904.
Please do not assume that the statute of limitations does not apply to you if you prefer to settle your injury claim rather than litigate. The insurer may stop talking to you as soon as the filing deadline passes, and since you cannot sue them anymore, there will be nothing that you can do about it.
Getting Help With Your Car Accident Claim
At Jenner Law, we help injured people seek the compensation they deserve for their wounds and losses after a car accident. We fight the big insurance companies and defend our clients from false allegations of fault. We work tirelessly for our clients while treating them with respect and compassion.
If you were involved in a car accident with a rental car driver and are unsure what to do, contact us today for a free initial consultation. A car accident lawyer from our firm would be happy to help you.