Florida’s roads are filled with rental cars. Destin and other beach destinations along the panhandle’s coast host out-of-state visitors during all months of the year, and many of these visitors arrive by rental car via I-10 or US-98.
Unfortunately, whether due to being distracted, inebriated, reckless or unfamiliar with the local roads, out-of-state drivers in rental cars cause a significant number of vehicle collisions. If you have been injured in an accident involving a rental car in Florida, here’s what you need to know:
1. Rental Car Auto Insurance
While many aspects of auto accidents involving rental cars are unique, there is one critical aspect that is similar to all other types of vehicle collisions: In the vast majority of cases, injury victims’ compensation will come from the insurance companies. In cases involving rental car accidents, some potential sources of compensation include:
- The Rental Car Driver’s Auto Insurer – The driver of the rental car should be insured. The rental car companies require it, and most insurance companies’ policies cover rental car vehicle accidents.
- The Rental Car Driver’s Credit Card Company – Some credit card companies offer rental car insurance as a benefit to cardholders. If you cannot collect under the driver’s auto insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim against his or her credit card company.
- The Rental Car Company – While rental car companies are immune from personal injury claims based on drivers’ negligence under federal law, if the rental car company itself was negligent (i.e. it rented a vehicle that was in need of maintenance or repair), then the rental car company (or its insurer) may be liable as well.
- Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Policy – As a Florida resident, you are legally required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Regardless of who was at fault in the accident, you can use your PIP policy to help cover your medical expenses and loss of income.
2. Florida’s “No Fault” Insurance Law
Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law applies to all auto accidents occurring within the state’s borders. So, regardless of the fact that the rental car driver lives in another state, your first (and potentially only) source of compensation will be PIP coverage under your own insurance policy. However, PIP will not be your only option if:
- You suffered a significant and permanent injury; or,
- A third-party (i.e. the rental car company) was fully or partially at fault in the accident.
3. Maximizing Your Financial Recovery
Regardless of the source (or sources) of financial compensation you have available, it is important that you do everything possible to maximize your financial recovery. A traumatic injury can impact all aspects of your life, and you should not be forced to suffer due to someone else’s mistake.
Contact the Destin Car Accident Lawyers at Powell, Powel & Powell, P.A.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a rental car in Destin, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can determine your best course of action, and we will fight to recover maximum compensation for your injury-related losses. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys, please call (850) 682-2757 or inquire online today.