The driver who caused your car accident should be responsible for any rental car costs you incur while your vehicle is being repaired. While New York state requires no-fault auto insurance, these benefits do not cover property damage or related expenses.
Ultimately, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will pay the same percentage of the cost of the rental car that they have accepted on liability. However, getting a car paid for quickly after a crash is often difficult. If you are working with a car accident lawyer, they will offer advice on how to handle your transportation needs while your car is repaired or you look for a replacement.
- No-Fault Coverage and Property Damage Claims After a Car Accident
- Paying for a Rental Car Through Your Own Coverage
- Having the At-Fault Driver’s Auto Insurance Company Pay for Your Rental Car
- Other Options for Transportation After a New York Collision
- You Could Also Sue or Pursue a Claim Against the At-Fault Party Based on Your Injuries
- Discuss Your Legal Options With a Car Accident Law Firm
No-Fault Coverage and Property Damage Claims After a Car Accident
According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, New York requires drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, also known as No-Fault Insurance for the treatment of injuries. This policy does not include property damage insurance.
Vehicle owners may purchase “Collision” or “Comprehensive” car insurance to cover any damage to their own vehicle, less a deductible.
State law also requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. This is the policy that will pay for vehicle repairs, rental car costs, and other related expenses for victims of an accident the policyholder causes.
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Paying for a Rental Car Through Your Own Coverage
Many drivers have collision coverage as an optional part of their insurance package. This often includes rental car reimbursement. This policy will pay regardless of who caused the accident, although policyholders must pay a deductible. If you have this type of coverage, you should contact your insurer to discuss the daily rental costs included and determine if this is a good option to get a car quickly. In addition to quickly obtaining a rental car your car insurance will cover the full cost of the rental (subject to the coverage details of your policy such as daily rates, etc.) Your car insurance company will fight or subrogate against the offending vehicle’s insurance company to get reimbursed the amount of the rental, cost of repair, tow, storage, total loss, or other forms of property damage. (For example, personal items in the car that were damaged or destroyed.) To the extent your car insurance company is successful, they will pay you back your deductible as well.
Many insurance companies work with an approved rental company and pay them directly. If you have this type of agreement, you do not have to worry about anything except the deductible. Other insurers have a reimbursement policy requiring you to pay out of pocket and submit your receipts.
If you opt to use this coverage, your insurance company will likely use a process called subrogation to attempt to recover the money they spent on your rental car from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider. You might receive a reimbursement of your deductible under some circumstances.
Having the At-Fault Driver’s Auto Insurance Company Pay for Your Rental Car
If you do not carry a collision policy with rental coverage or do not want to pay a deductible, you must pursue a fault-based property damage claim. This requires you to contact the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider and tell them you need vehicle repairs and a rental car.
The adjuster should work with you to assess the damage to your car and arrange a rental car for you. However, this could take time as liability will first need to be determined. In other words, a figure representing the proportionate share of responsibility of each driver to the happening of the accident must be arrived at by the carrier, based upon their investigation, before they will make any payment. Once that figure is determined, that is the percentage of the total cost that the carrier will use to make any payments. They also likely have a daily limit for rental car costs, so you should ensure you understand this to avoid paying any extra expenses out of pocket.
It is also important to pay attention to other stipulations from the insurance company. They could make an effort to pay as little as possible in your case, including rushing repairs for your vehicle, giving you a very short time with rental car coverage after a total loss, or delaying getting you a rental car.
Other Options for Transportation After a New York Collision
In some cases, crash victims are stuck with a delay in getting a rental car. The insurance adjuster should work quickly to help, but this does not always occur as it should. Insurance carriers drag their feet, rental car companies are out of vehicles, and other issues cause delays.
When this occurs, you cannot put your life on hold. You must get to work and run errands, causing you to consider other options for commuting. If you need to take the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan daily for work, use Uber or Lyft, or take a taxi or cab, hold onto your receipts. Your expenses might be recoverable, depending on the circumstances.
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You Could Also Sue or Pursue a Claim Against the At-Fault Party Based on Your Injuries
In many crashes, property damage is not the only issue. When injuries are serious, victims have the option of filing fault-based cases to recover additional types of damages. This includes:
- Additional medical care costs beyond their PIP coverage
- Future medical bills
- Current and future lost income
- Miscellaneous related expenses
- Pain and suffering
This requires filing a lawsuit against the liable driver in most cases. You’ll need to gather evidence that proves they caused your accident. A lawyer from our firm is prepared to build your case for you and timely and effectively file notices, applications, and forms that will be worded and completed appropriately to preserve your right to a settlement or suit if a settlement cannot be reached
New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214, only gives victims a limited time to start a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in these cases. Depending upon the facts of your case, an even shorter statute of limitations may apply. For this reason, you should weigh your options as early in the process as possible. An attorney will assess your case, inform you as to applicable deadlines, advise you as to available options and explain how they propose to handle your next steps.
You should expect a New York car accident attorney to:
- Be present to protect your interest should the insurance company want to speak with you
- Complete all necessary paperwork
- Keep you updated on your case
- Identify liable parties
- Communicate with all parties for you
- Gather evidence
- Determine a value for your case
Your lawyer could work with you to build your injury and property damage claims.
Discuss Your Legal Options With a Car Accident Law Firm
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. provides free initial car accident case consultations for crash victims. Our attorneys are passionate advocates for the injured, fighting for the compensation our clients deserve based on their case facts. We meet with collision victims and their families on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area.
We have multilingual staff and will assist you in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi, French, Creole and Kannada. Call for a free consultation or use our online contact form to connect with our team today.