04 Feb Rental Cars, Inclement Weather, Super Bowl
Welcome to the Newsletter
Rana Law Group Newsletter
In this issue:
- Rental Cars – Frequently Asked Questions
- Inclement Weather Driving
- Super Bowl!
Rental Cars – Frequently Asked Questions
I often receive questions on rental cars from people who have been in a car crash, but this information also applies if you are renting a car for personal travel purposes.
- Should I get the optional insurance offered by the rental car company? It depends. If you have full automobile insurance coverage, there is probably language in your policy which covers you in the event of a crash (please consult your policy or agent to confirm for certain). You would still have to pay your deductible, however, your automobile insurance coverage extends to the vehicle you are driving since coverage follows the driver. If you do not have full coverage, you should purchase the rental insurance since you would not be covered if you crash the rental vehicle. For more on this, please review the July 2019 Newsletter.
- If I am in a crash and the other driver’s insurance company gives me a rental car, what does that include? It typically includes a compact car, although exceptions are sometimes made if your vehicle was a larger model. In those circumstances, insurance companies usually try to get a similar vehicle. It does not include gas, the optional insurance (since you should have your own), superficial scratches or damage to the interior of the vehicle. It is very important to document any existing damage you see before leaving the rental facility for the first time.
- The vehicle damaged was my work vehicle – can I use the rental vehicle for hauling or other work related jobs? Probably not. Most rental companies have rules that you cannot perform construction or some work related tasks in the rental vehicle, presumably because you are likely to cause visible wear and tear. If you use your vehicle for Uber or delivery services, chances are you are not covered on your personal insurance anyway and rental companies typically exclude this type of use for rented vehicles.
- If I do not use the rental offered by the insurance company, then what? Most insurance companies are willing to cash out this portion of your claim. In fact, if you can get by without using the rental vehicle, I encourage clients to cash it out for the roughly $25/day offered by the insurance company.
Inclement Weather Driving
With snow and rain expected in the forecast, I thought this may be a good time to discuss crashes that are inclement weather related. If a driver loses control of their vehicle due to snow/ice/water and causes a crash, in most situations, the driver that lost control of their vehicle (deemed driver number one on the police report) will be deemed at fault. I explain the legal difficulties of these cases in further detail below but, in summary, if you lose control of your vehicle due to weather conditions and someone then hits you, the crash will likely be deemed your fault. The best advice I can give is to slow down and avoid any distraction during less than ideal driving conditions.
In these unfortunate situations, the first driver may look to the other driver (second driver) to assess fault for speeding or failing to keep a careful lookout or take some sort of evasive maneuver. While those are technically legal defenses that could be brought up at trial, I advise clients it is not always a good idea to point the finger at the second driver. In these situations, the insurance company probably already assessed fault against the first driver, so they will not be helpful. In terms of a case against the second driver, those are typically not going to be successful because of the perception that the first driver was the cause of the crash.
It is more likely the second driver makes a claim against the first driver’s insurance. In that situation, I also suggest not pointing the finger at the second driver because the perception a jury may by left with is the first driver has not fully accepted liability or responsibility for causing the crash. While it may be true that the second driver possibly could have done something, an objective review of the situation would probably lead to the conclusion that the second driver likely did not want to be in a crash and would therefore attempt to avoid the crash if possible. Since the second driver did not, one can only assume that the second driver did not have time to avoid the crash. With that understanding, it becomes easier to just let the insurance company handle the case and not try to fight for some fault against the second driver.
After all, if driver one’s insurance company already determined the crash was the fault of driver one, attempting to shift some of that blame to driver two will only cause the insurance company to offer to accept less than 100% of the damages of driver two, possibly resulting in driver one getting sued. Best to chalk it up to what it was, which is an accident, and move on.
2020 is a year we are unlikely to ever forget and 2021 has so far been more of the same. Yet, there appears to be hope on the horizon! With more vaccines available daily, I maintain hope we will return to normal life in the coming months.
Sadly, Super Bowl LV will not be quite the same. I will miss attending our annual party with friends and family where we have a huge potluck and watch commercials (I mean football). We are keeping it lower key this year but I still want to enjoy the game (and buffalo wings). I will be rooting for the Chiefs and cheering especially loud AGAINST Tom Brady. Many St. Louis Rams fans will never forget the joy of the Greatest Show on Turf and how Tom Brady and the Patriots came in with their cheating ways to beat them in 2001. However, for an argument in favor of Tom Brady, I encourage you to read this article, which lays out some fantastic points, including that Tom Brady is actually an underdog. Enjoy the big game!