Florida is visited by around 100 million tourists every year, many of whom choose a rental car to explore the 825 miles of coastline, world-renowned national parks, and fantastic theme parks. On the flip side, road accident statistics in Florida are concerning, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), around 400,00 road accidents occur every year. It’s no wonder that rental cars are involved in a portion of these.
If you have an accident as the driver of a rental car, you should be covered by your car rentals insurance policy, your credit card or your personal car insurance policy. However, if you are not covered, you will need to speak to a car accident attorney as soon as possible. The rental company will have lawyers on their side, ready to fight, and you must have good representation as well.
At The Law Place, we frequently tackle road accident claims in Florida. We understand the intricacies of the law, especially when it comes to tourists and rental car companies. Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Steps to Take if You Have an Accident in Your Hertz Rental Car
Assess the situation – Following any car accident, your priority is to make sure that everyone is safe. Move out of the way of any hazards, and if someone is injured, call 911 immediately. According to Florida Statute 316.062, you are required to phone the police if there were any injuries or substantial property damage.
Gather evidence – It is a good idea to get as much information as you can, including information from anyone else involved in the accident, such as contact, vehicle, and insurance information.
Take photos of all the vehicles involved as well as any road conditions which could have contributed to the crash. You should also take contact details from any witnesses.
If there is a police officer at the scene, get their name, badge number, and contact information.
Call your rental company – When you rented your car, you should have been given an emergency phone number. Contact your rental car company and ask what you should do with the car. Try to avoid talking about the accident at this stage.
Call your insurance company – Speak to your own insurance company as soon as possible, as there may be a limited time in which you can claim, especially if you are using credit card insurance.
Take care of the car – You are still responsible for the rental car following an accident, make sure it is in a safe place or properly tended to.
File a report with the rental company – You will need to file a report with the rental company. It could be a good idea to speak to a personal injury lawyer beforehand. Anything you say in a report could be used against you later.
For a free legal consultation with a hertz rental car accidents lawyer serving Florida, call 941-444-4444
Is the Rental Car Company Liable for Damages?
Often, car rental companies are not liable for damages following a road accident; this is because of a decision made by the Florida Supreme Court in 2011. In Vagas v. Enterprise 2011, rental car companies were found not to be responsible for the actions of people driving a rental car.
Rental car companies, therefore, do not have liability unless it can be proven that they were in some way negligent. A rental company could be found negligent if the car was in a dangerous condition, or they hired it to someone they shouldn’t have.
Florida Hertz Rental Car Accident Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
What Does My Hertz Car Rental Policy Say?
The best thing to do when it comes to an understanding of your liability is to read your rental car company policy. Most ‘rent a car’ companies will try to limit their liability through the wording that they use in their agreements, and it is common for them to have clear instructions on what to do after an accident. If you fail to take the right steps, you could lose out on your insurance protection.
The policy could include conditions such as a deadline to report the accident and how that reporting should be done. The steps you take after the accident can have a big impact on your case. The best thing to do after an accident is to make contact with a reputable law firm, such as The Law Place, who can advise you.
Who Pays After a Rental Car Accident?
If you rent a car and are involved in an ancient, then your coverage will determine your next steps.
You Bought Collision Insurance From the Rental Car Company
If you purchased the collision damage waiver (CDW) when you hired the car, then you should be covered, unless you were reckless or breached the Hertz rental agreement. For example, if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then you will have broken your agreement.
CDW usually shifts the cost of repairing the vehicle to the rental car company. However, medical expenses will not be reimbursed by CDW. If you purchased supplemental liability coverage, then this may cover you. If not, you are expected to use your car, health, or travel insurance.
You May Already Have Coverage
If you are from the United States, then your personal car insurance policy might cover rentals. If you are an international tourist, then you could be covered by your travel insurance. You will need to check your coverage limits and what deductible you could be expected to pay. Some credit cards also offer coverage if you paid with it for the rental.
What if You are Not Covered?
If you are not covered, then you could be liable for damages. If the car accident was not your fault, then the rental company could claim from the other driver’s insurance company. However, they may initially charge you, and you could have to fight to be reimbursed.
However, most of the time, you will be covered to some degree. Florida Statute 627.736 requires rental companies to provide the minimum liability coverage of $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage. If the damages go beyond this amount, then you should speak to a car accident attorney at The Law Place.
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Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
In accordance with Florida Statute 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that regardless of who was at fault, every person involved in a road accident should be covered by their own insurance coverage, up to their policy limits.
If you were in a rental car accident, the other driver must be covered by their own insurance. However, in a serious accident, the damage could exceed policy limits. In which case, you could be found liable for the other parties’ damages if you were at fault. Furthermore, if they are uninsured, then this could pose problems for you.
When Is Hertz Negligent in Florida?
In order to claim damages from Hertz after a rental car accident, you need to prove that they were negligent. Hertz could be found negligent if:
- Hertz failed to properly maintain the rental car.
- They failed to supervise workers.
- They entrusted the rental car to a driver who clearly shouldn’t have been allowed to drive.
- They failed to adequately train staff.
If you cannot prove that Hertz was negligent, then they cannot be found liable for damages. If they were at fault, then you should speak to a personal injury lawyer at The Law Place. Hertz has experienced personal injury lawyers on their side to deal with any car accidents. It is important that you level the playing field by having an attorney on your side.
Additional Charges if You Crash Your Hertz Rental Car in Florida
If you were at fault for the accident, then beyond damages, Hertz could charge you for:
- Administration fees – This covers fees associated with processing your claim, this should be around $50 – $150, but could be more for serious car accidents.
- Loss of use fees – If your rental car needs to be pulled out of circulation while it is repaired, you could be charged for any money lost by Hertz. The amount depends on the value of your car but could be around $20 – $40 per day while it is being repaired.
- Diminution of value – When your Hertz rental car is damaged, it could lose value even if it is repaired. Hertz could charge for this, and the cost will depend on the extent of the damage and value of the car.
If the accident was not your fault, then you could still initially face these charges, but you should be compensated. You may choose to bring a claim against the at-fault driver in a small claims court, or they may settle with you to avoid this. Either way, you will need help from a law firm that has experience in Florida law.
Do This Before You Rent a Hertz Car
- Take names and numbers – The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with Hertz procedures. You should be given an emergency phone number, be sure to keep this handy.
- Research your insurance coverage – Know the extent of your insurance company before you rent a car in Florida.
- Consider extra coverage – If your insurance is insufficient, then you should purchase additional coverage from Hertz.
Why Should I Consider Extra Coverage?
It is difficult to hold any rental car company liable following car accidents involving their vehicles. Therefore, as the driver, you could become a target of a lawsuit. Furthermore, if you are injured, then you could end up with hefty medical bills.
In case of any serious personal injury, you may want to make sure that your policy limits are higher than the minimum in Florida of $10,000. Injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, and permanent scarring could result in hefty medical bills and are all too common in road accidents. Check your personal car insurance policy, travel insurance, and rental policy and make sure that if the worst happens, you are protected.
It is in your best interest to purchase extra insurance. Hertz offers Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS). This covers you for $1,000,000 in bodily injury and property damage. It also protects you if the other driver is not insured. If you purchase this coverage when you get your vehicle, the only way you will not be covered is if you failed to pay for it, an unauthorized person was driving your vehicle or the LIS coverage was obtained through misrepresentation.
Hertz also offers a Loss Damage Waiver, which covers you for damage to the vehicle, loss of use fees, administration fees, and loss of value. You will pay an extra daily fee for this coverage, but you could be thankful for it in the event of an accident.
The Law Place
The Law Place represents victims of accidents involving rental companies such as Hertz in Florida. Our attorneys understand the complex laws surrounding rental companies and know how to navigate the system.
It can be difficult to go up against big companies such as Hertz, who have experienced lawyers on their side to save them money. Furthermore, the other driver may also have their own attorney, especially if they have been injured. Therefore, it is important that you have proper representation as well.
Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.