Compensation for a Collision With a Rental Car in Indiana

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on February 16, 2024

. Updated on May 3, 2024


Sign from a rental car company. Many people have a lot of questions after an accident with a rental car. They may wonder if they should treat the accident the same as any other. They may have questions about insurance coverage on the rental vehicle.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak explain what car crash victims should do if the at-fault driver was in a rental vehicle, including insurance coverage that may be available.

If you have injuries from a rental car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our car accident lawyers in South Bend are prepared to manage the legal process so you can focus on your recovery.

Call our office today to schedule a FREE case review: (574) 444-0741.

Can You File a Claim Against the Rental Car Company?

Rental car crash victims often want to know if they can sue the rental car company for damages. For the most part, the answer to this question is no.

The Graves Amendment prevents rental car companies from being held liable for damage or injuries solely because they are the owners of the vehicle. The only way to get around this is if your lawyer can prove the rental car company knew or should have been aware of a defect or maintenance issue with the vehicle and failed to repair it.

For example, if the rental company did not fix malfunctioning brakes before renting a car to you, they may be held liable for damages if a crash occurs.

These are other examples of poor maintenance that can lead to car crashes:

  • Broken headlights, taillights or turn signals
  • Old tires with worn treads
  • Steering issues
  • Tires that are out of alignment
  • Transmission issues

This type of case is complicated, and it is recommended that you seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable attorney. While there may be rare circumstances where rental car companies may be liable for a collision, most of the time these cases will involve the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Can I File a Claim Against the Rental Car Driver’s Insurance Policy?

Even though the at-fault driver was in a rental car, his or her personal insurance policy probably still applies. That means your claim would proceed much like it would if the at-fault driver was in his or her own vehicle. Your lawyer would file a claim with the driver’s insurance company and negotiate for compensation.

Your lawyer must prove that the at-fault party in the rental car was liable for the crash. He or she will need to gather evidence, such as pictures, medical records, video evidence (if available) and more to try to link the other driver’s negligence to the crash and your injuries.

What About Rental Car Insurance?

Rental insurance could cover damage in the event of a car crash. However, it is important to know that, depending on the type of insurance, it may not cover all your claims related to the accident.

For example, drivers commonly purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW), which waives the cost of repairs or replacement but does not cover injuries caused by the driver.

One of the advantages of hiring a lawyer after a rental car crash is that he or she can determine all potential sources of compensation.

Can I Still Pursue Compensation if the Other Party Is Underinsured?

Sometimes the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to pay the full cost of your damages. This means he or she is underinsured. In this situation, you may be able to pursue a claim against the underinsured motorist coverage in your own policy. If you do not have underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to seek compensation from the rental car insurance.

However, this is a complex situation that should be discussed with an experienced lawyer.

What Happens if the Other Driver is From Another State?

Many people drive rental cars while they are on vacation and do not reside within the state where the crash happened. However, your claim should proceed in much the same way as it would if the at-fault driver did reside in Indiana.

If the driver only has the minimum required insurance for their state and that is less than what is required for Indiana, the driver’s insurance coverage will be increased to meet Indiana’s minimum requirements.

For example, say a driver from Illinois only has the minimum insurance coverage of $20,000 to cover another person’s property damage. If a car crash happens in Indiana, the minimum coverage will increase to $25,000 to meet Indiana minimum coverage requirements.

What Should I Do After a Car Crash With a Rental Car?

Victims should treat a car crash with a rental car like any other accident. Victims should take these steps to ensure their safety, protect their rights and fulfill obligations with insurance companies:

  • Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay.
  • Call the police so they will come to the scene and complete a report.
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident: names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance policy numbers.
  • Document the scene by taking photos of property damage and injuries.
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Seek medical attention by visiting an emergency room or doctor.
  • Consult with a knowledgeable lawyer who can calculate all your damages and speak to the insurance company on your behalf.

Contact Our South Bend Law Firm After a Crash With a Rental Car

We understand that multiple factors are involved in liability for these types of collisions. These factors can make it a challenge to pursue compensation on your own.

You should consider calling an injury law firm with a history of results, like Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak. We are committed to seeking compensation on your behalf while you focus on your recovery. There are no upfront costs if you decide to hire our firm. We only get paid if we recover compensation for you.

Proven results. Millions recovered. (574) 444-0741.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases