When you are a victim of an automobile accident, many freedoms you possess are instantaneously removed from your grasp: financial freedom, free time, and the ability to transport yourself and your family from place to place. Just because your mode of transportation disappears does not mean your need for transportation will change. On the contrary, as soon as you are involved in a car accident you will find that you need to secure a replacement vehicle—five minutes ago.
There are three directions this situation could take, and they are all dependent on how the at-fault driver’s insurance chooses to respond. The first and most simple avenue is when the at-fault driver’s insurance company immediately accepts liability for the collision. When this occurs, the insurance company will cover costs for your rental car until they pay for either the repairs on your car or the fair market value of your totaled car. The second situation is when the other insurance company does not make an immediate decision, typically because they have not been able to obtain their driver’s version of the crash. As you wait, find out if you have rental coverage through your own insurance provider; if so, they will pay for your rental car while your car is in the shop, and then once fault is determined for the crash, your insurance company will fight the other company to be compensated for the money they paid for your rental. The third direction is when the at-fault insurance carrier either denies responsibility or continues to withhold a decision when you need a rental car. When this occurs, you will have to front the money to pay for the rental vehicle and even the repairs if you want to more quickly reestablish normalcy. If the at-fault insurance company later agrees that they are responsible or are found to be at fault, then they are required to reimburse you for the money you spent on the rental. Even if you do not possess rental car coverage in your policy, the other insurance company is still responsible for the rental car bills once they have accepted liability for the accident, so save the receipt for the rental car.
One other aspect of this topic that influences how this process will unfold is if you do possess rental reimbursement coverage in your auto insurance policy. This is an optional source of coverage available with almost every policy for $1 or $2/month; rental reimbursement coverage helps pay for the cost of a rental car while your car is in the shop after a car accident (there is usually a per-day, per-accident limit for this coverage). Even if the accident is the other driver’s fault, it will take time for their insurance to agree to pay for a rental. Conversely, with this coverage, you can secure a rental almost immediately
Understand that the rental vehicle provided to you should be comparable to the vehicle that was damaged in the accident. For example, if you were driving a minivan because you have children with many after school activities, it is not reasonable for your replacement to be a subcompact car. Unfortunately, securing a rental car can be one of the most difficult and frustrating issues after a car accident. Hopefully this information has been helpful, and that it alleviates some of the stress you might be experiencing in trying to secure a rental vehicle after an accident.
This is ultimately a difficult question to answer because there is neither a single, cover-all response nor even a foolproof equation one could use to calculate a number. As you might have anticipated, several factors determine what amount of money you will ultimately be able to recover from your personal injury case. Some of these factors include: the identity of both the defendant and his or her insurance coverage, the nature and severity of the injuries you have sustained, your degree of fault, past and future medical bills and rehabilitation costs, previously lost wages and lost future income, the way in which you obtained treatment, and the quantifiable value of the pain and suffering you have endured because of the incident. Another aspect of a personal injury case is observing how family members’ lives have been disadvantaged by this injury; in some situations, those losses can even be recovered independently from the damages awarded to the injured person. On the other hand, note that any discrepancies in testimonies or medical records on your part or even your litigation history could detract from the amount of money you might expect to recover.
In the end, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to cover the specifics of your case, and that meeting may give you more of an indication of the range you might expect. Because some of these previously listed factors have a set monetary value and others are more arbitrary, it is not a simple matter of addition and subtraction. However, in hiring an attorney, you can have confidence that he or she will consider every possible loss you experienced and could potentially experience as a result of your personal injury—and fight for full compensation. In short, you can win big—or bigger—from your personal injury suit by hiring a seasoned attorney who has seen hundreds of cases like yours and will fight for the maximum amount of compensation for you.