Your Guide to Rental Car Accidents & More
Rental cars are an important decision when traveling. Unless you are somewhere like New York or Chicago, where public transportation is really all you need to get around town, having a vehicle to drive to and from places like your hotel, restaurants, family and friends you may be visiting and site seeing, is a must.
Although it is nice to have transportation when on vacation, the entire process can be a scary experience. The actual time of renting, making choices about rental car insurance, how many miles you want to purchase, crossing T's and dotting I's on the rental car agreement paperwork can be overwhelming and confusing.
Our skilled and experienced team of Personal Injury Lawyers understand that rental cars can be a "finicky" area when it comes to rules, guidelines and all aspects with renting a car. But that's not the only factors that make renting a car intimidating and dangerous.
Once you get the rental car keys, driving the rental car off the lot can be intimidating and exhausting, making sure not to hit any poles or cars. When you're on the road and driving, the car is foreign; unfamiliar controls, a difference in the vehicles performance compared to your own daily driver back at home, even the view-of-site you have from the drivers seat. Maybe the windshield is more slanted, or more open, seat positioning could be lower set, the vehicles profile could be closer to the ground or higher in the air.
All factors contribute to your driving performance and ability to maneuver out of any potentially dangerous obstructions, hazardous conditions or sudden and unexpected situations.
Whether you are on vacation or renting a car while your daily driver is in the auto shop, experiencing a car accident in a rental vehicle can be a nightmare. But it doesn't have to be when you hire our skilled and experienced Personal Injury Lawyers, at our highly respected and successful firm, Bisnar Chase, to represent you and your rental car accident case.This page will cover the following:
Crashing a Rental Car
Being involved in a car accident is never a good experience, especially when you are in a rental car. Depending on the type of insurance coverage you purchased when renting the car, could make a big difference with damages encountered during the crash.
So, what do you do when you get into a wreck while driving a rental car? The same as you would in any other vehicle. Safety first, don't downplay anything, and stay aware of your surroundings and current situation at all times.
Remember to always stay calm and don't panic. Although it seems like easy advice to give when not in a traumatic situation, there are no benefits from freaking out and panicking, ever, in any situation.
Once the vehicles have come to a halt, make sure you are clear to exit the vehicle and assist any other injured car accident victims if you are able to do so. Don't move anyone that could possibly have a serious injury or is unconscious, unless they are in direct danger, such as a gas leak, fire or in danger of being struck by a moving vehicle.
Call 911 for emergency medical services, even as a precautionary measure, not only to ensure the health and safety of you and others involved, but to document your injuries in affiliation to the accident.
Your next step is going to make that call. Call your rental car company and explain to them the situation and what happened. You will then go through their process of a rental car accident procedure.
Depending on what kind of coverage you picked, could either help you, or you could be regretting not purchasing that extra or full coverage on your rental car. Either way, you are in the situation you are in, and there is no changing it. So continue forward with a positive attitude, and know that Bisnar Chase will take care of you.
4 Types of Rental Car Insurance
Some people think that they don't need to buy any extra coverage or purchase any insurance when renting a car.
Depending where you are renting a car, it would be smart to do some research before you sign the paperwork.
Here are the 4 main types of insurance and insurance-like coverages sold at rental counters: (information provided by ConsumerAffairs.com/travel)
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
- Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP)
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
- Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
Some of these plans cover things you may never need, but then again, you'll never know if you are going to need them, since we can never know if you are going to experience an accident or not.
Driving an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads can be very dangerous. Getting used to a vehicle takes time, patience and spending time getting to know how things work, feel and react
When renting vehicles you are not used to, you don't always have the luxury of spending time with the vehicle to safely feel confident with. Usually, you get the rental car in a hurry, and end up driving away in a hurry.
When you go somewhere new, you don't know what lurks around the curve. Is there a large dip? A narrow bridge maybe? A sudden turn before a large drop-off? When negligent and careless driving is combined with an unfamiliar vehicle, the chance of a car accident increase.
Here is a list of the Top 5 Most Common Rental Car Accidents:
- Backing Up!: Some people have subconscious habits with their driving. People who are used to backup sensors become reliant on the beep warning when they get too close to a wall or car. Rental cars, being heavily used and abused, are usually lower-end models, lacking the bells and whistles that higher-end models have, such as backup sensors. When a person used to having backup sensors gets a rental car without back up sensors, backing into walls, posts, cars, people or other objects can become a surprisingly common issue.
- Running into Things: Because our brains take some time to acclimate to new cars, the way they turn and the way they drive, sometimes we can overturn or under turn, causing the vehicle to run into walls, cars and pedestrians.
- Reckless Driving: When on vacation, we tend to get excited about being on vacation and where we are. Even the excitement of renting a car that you've always wanted, like a sports car or large SUV, we can bite off a little more than we can chew. Burning out, speeding, driving offroad and other terrain, donuts, racing and even purposely damaging the vehicle itself can result in serious injuries, property damage and fatal events.
- Auto Defects: Because rental cars are used so much, abused and pushed past their limits, they can become dangerous, due to broken parts, loose bolts or parts, and even inefficient and irregular performance. If this goes unseen, rental car companies can be held accountable for negligent maintenance and car service. Rental cars should be at 100% safe and reliable performance, otherwise not rented out to the public. Many rental car companies will even brush auto defects and vehicle recalls under the rug, to avoid the headache of fixing it and save money.
- Distracted Driving: Being on vacation can be exciting and distracting at the same time, especially if you are driving. Tourists want to take pictures, photos, videos and even posting on social media like instagram, facebook and snapchat. Doing this while driving is not only difficult, not only dangerous, but illegal. Don't text, make phone calls or use hand-help cell phones while driving, that includes cameras and any other electronic device that can be held.
Why is a Personal Injury Law Firm who only represents the plaintiff point out the Top 5 Most Common Rental Car Accidents, most of which applies to the wrong-doers?
This is what is dangerous about tourists and rental car drivers on the road. Even though you are a safe driver, or take the correct and safe steps to avoiding possible car wrecks doesn't mean someone else can't or won't run into you.
Are Rental Cars Dangerous?
All vehicles are dangerous. Some more than others due to overall performance and safety. But are rental cars more dangerous than your typical daily drivers?
Rental cars are heavily used and worn down quicker than someone's daily driving vehicle because of the constant renting to tourist and travelers, being used to throw luggage, suitcases and zipping around town or across country.
Because these rental vehicles undergo so much wear and tear, they must have the proper amount of attention and maintenance to ensure they are safe to rent out for driving. Negligence in doing so can result in severe and catastrophic consequences.
Some of the issues rental cars can experience consists of the following:
- Brake issues and failure
- Transmission problems
- Cosmetic Damage
- Occupational malfunctions (malfunctioning parts)
- Seatbelt failure
- Tire blowouts
Do Rental Car Companies Rent Out Defected Cars?
Rental cars around the world were renting cars that should not have been rented out for a long time. Sadly, there are still companies that try and sweep things under the rug, for profit and avoiding paperwork and more work.
Two sisters were driving a rental car when it caught fire. They ended up passing away, and after looking into the rental car companies records, found that the rental car (Chrysler PT Cruiser) had a recall, 1 month before the accident, regarding a power steering leak that could cause a fire, which is exactly what happened.
The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act put a law in place that President Obama signed, making it illegal for rental companies to rent cars that had recalls or auto defects, making them fix the issue first before renting again.
Watch Out For This!
It is always good to know red flags and warning signs to avoid accidents and possibly dangerous situations. Here are a few things to keep in mind and to watch out for next time you are renting a car.
- Does the vehicle appear to be severely damaged? When a rental car company allows you to rent a car even though it is in bad shape, looks battered or has obvious wear and tear, this is a red flag. Either the company does not have enough money to keep the cars health and appearance up, isn't taking good care of their vehicles, or does not care if your vehicle is safe or not.
- Does the vehicle make any loud and/or unusual noises? Cars should not squeak, squeal, hiss or squack, those noises are for animals. Loud and unusual noises are usually a red flag that something is broken, about to break or putting unnecessary strain on the vehicle, possibly resulting in a sudden change in the vehicles ability to drive, which could cause a wreck.
- Is there a burning smell, smoke or shaking/vibrating? When a vehicle is running efficiently, that means that all of the vehicles parts are working together smoothly and efficiently. When a burning smell occurs, parts are either rubbing together, wearing out, over heating or a mess of other possible issues could be resulting. If there is white, black or any other colored smoke, pull the car over to a safe spot and exit the vehicle as soon as you are able to do so. Cars don't smoke, and is a direct indication there is a disturbance in the normal flow of the vehicles performance. Any shaking, vibrating or rattling is an indication that there is heavy pressure on the vehicles engine, transmission or other important parts, loose parts and should be attended to as soon as possible.
- Are there important parts that are not properly working? If there are parts of the vehicle that are difficult to get working, not working, or only work a part of the time, refuse to rent the vehicle. This consists of:
- Seatbelt failure or malfunctions
- Proper door latching (doors closing and opening properly)
- Brake failure or malfunctions
- Acceleration, engine idling and speed aspects
- Cracked windshield or windows
- Crooked alignment or bent wheels
- Malfunctioning horn or head/brake/tail lights and turn signals
- Windshield wipers that don't work
- Heavy exhaust fumes inside the vehicles occupant/rider cabin
- Dark tinted windows, taillights, headlights or reflectors
- Inconsistent and sketchy sales/unprofessional company conditions: If you suspect that the rental car company you are about to rent from is being sketchy in any ways, remember the phrase, "If in doubt, don't go out." Find another company you can trust has your best interest in mind. Some small rental car companies are poorly managed, don't perform regular maintenance on their vehicles and don't care if they get in trouble or have a bad reputation. If you experience a poorly managed and dangerous rental car company, report them to law enforcement immediately. You could be saving lives.
Often, people figure hiring a lawyer is going to be expensive, cause them more stress and be a negative experience. With Bisnar Chase, you don't have to worry about stereotypes of attorneys and law firms. We are hear to help.
Our skilled and experienced Rental Car Accident Lawyers have been representing victims for over 40 years, winning over $500 million for our clients. Our 96% success rate proves that we know what we are doing.
If you have any questions about your situation, talk to our legal team and receive your Free consultation and Free case evaluation. Give us a call at 800-561-4887.