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Rental car crashes: Who is responsible?

Florida remains one of the most popular tourist destinations of the United States thanks to its year-round warm weather. Once those visitors step off the plane, several of them head down to the nearest rental car dealership to sign some documents before taking their temporary rides on the road. Many people don’t read those documents carefully.

Unfortunately, Florida is also a popular destination for car accidents. If you get involved in an accident with your rental car in this state, it is critical to know how liability and insurance works from the conditions of your accident. Some rules are the same as a car accident in your home state, while others are a little different.

If the other driver was responsible

As with any accident in any state, you can receive compensation from the other driver’s auto insurance company if the driver caused the damages.

Be sure to obtain the necessary information from the scene of the accident to file the claim and in case you have to prove the other driver was at fault.

If you were responsible

Your insurance coverage depends on what documents and payments you made before leaving the rental dealership. Despite what others may tell you, rental car insurance is not mandatory in Florida. Some choose not to buy it because it is extra money to pay and they don’t expect an accident.

If you chose to purchase additional rental car insurance, then it will be simpler to cover your damages. While it may vary depending on the severity of your mishap, the rental insurance will likely cover your accident. The company also has Florida’s mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance to cover up 60 percent of your lost wages and 80 percent of your medical costs.

If you did not purchase coverage, then you will have to contact your primary auto owner’s insurance back home to pay for damages. Collision coverage can compensate for damages to the rental car.

If the rental car company was responsible

In some instances, neither driver is at fault for an accident. If the rental car company gave you a faulty vehicle which caused the crash, then you can try to hold them liable for the accident.

Thanks to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling, rental car companies cannot be vicariously liable for any incident involving their vehicles. However, if you are able to prove that the car had a deficiency before you took it out of the dealership, then you can file a claim to get the company to cover for any damages.

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