What if the Driver Who Caused a Wisconsin Car Crash Was in a Rental Car?

yellow car rental sign

When we get into the holiday season, you may be more likely to be sharing the road with drivers in rental cars. They may be from out of state or even somewhere else in Wisconsin.

Most rental car drivers will get to and from their destination without any problems. However, some drivers may be unsure of where they are going, which could increase their risk of causing a crash.

Would you know how to seek compensation if you were injured in a crash with a rental car? Can the rental car company be held liable?

Below, Sigman Janssen’s experienced Oshkosh auto accident lawyers explain your legal options after a rental car crash. Our firm has obtained millions for crash victims at no upfront cost.

Call us today to learn more: (877) 888-5201.

Common Types of Crashes Caused by Rental Car Drivers

Rental car drivers may cause various types of crashes. For example, they may be unsure of where they are going, which could lead to sudden stops. This could result in a rear-end crash, in which another driver crashes into the back of the rental car.

Rental car drivers may also become distracted. They are likely traveling in an unfamiliar area so their eyes may often drift away from the road to check their GPS to figure out where they are going. This could lead to rear-end crashes and collisions caused by running through red lights or stop signs.

Some people drive the same way no matter where they are or how familiar they are with the area. For example, they may increase the risk of a crash by speeding or making unsafe lane changes.

Is the Rental Car Company Liable For Your Damages?

There may be rare circumstances when the rental car company can be held financially liable for car accident damages. However, a federal law called the Graves Amendment shields rental car companies from liability for most rental car crashes.

The only exception would be for accidents involving rental cars that were deemed unreasonably dangerous because of the company’s negligence in maintaining them. For example, rental car companies may be liable if a rental car crashed because of poorly maintained brakes. Even in a situation like this, however, victims would have the burden of proof. In other words, they would need to prove the crash was caused by malfunctioning brakes and that the company knew or should have known about it.

Other examples of maintenance issues that could make a rental car company liable for an accident include:

  • Excessively worn tires
  • Steering problems
  • Broken headlights, taillights or turn signals
  • Windshield wipers that do not work properly
  • Recall repairs that have not been addressed

Rental Car Insurance

Even if you cannot seek compensation from the rental car company, your lawyer may be able to obtain compensation from the vehicle’s insurance policy. For example, victims may be able to seek compensation from the rental car’s liability insurance.

Wisconsin requires rental car companies to provide the same minimum amount of coverage that drivers are required to purchase:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
  • $10,000 in property damage liability

However, most rental car crash claims involve the at-fault driver’s personal insurance policy. If this policy cannot cover all your damages, your lawyer may seek compensation from the rental car coverage.

Can You Seek Compensation From the At-Fault Driver’s Personal Insurance Policy?

While car insurance usually follows the car in Wisconsin, a rental car driver’s personal insurance policy should extend to the rental car. That means filing a claim after a rental car crash should follow a similar set of steps as a claim that involved someone’s personal vehicle. The only difference is that the at-fault driver was in a rental car.

While some Wisconsin drivers only purchase the minimum required coverage, many purchase more than they are required to. This may increase the odds that their policy will have enough coverage to pay for the full cost of your damages.

What if the Driver Is From Out of State?

The same logic should apply whether a driver is from Wisconsin or another state. If the driver only has the minimum required coverage in his or her state and it is less than what is required in Wisconsin, your coverage should increase to cover the difference. Take, for example, a driver from Iowa who only has $20,000 in liability coverage and $40,000 per accident. In that situation, his or her coverage would increase to Wisconsin’s minimum liability coverage of $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.

However, every car accident case is different. Victims should strongly consider talking to an experienced lawyer who will be committed to securing favorable compensation for you. The attorneys at Sigman Janssen know how to evaluate car crashes to determine liability and any insurance coverage that may apply.

We are also prepared to take cases to court when necessary. It is critical to hire an attorney with courtroom experience, as these attorneys often recover more compensation than those who always settle. At Sigman Janssen, we want you to have all the compensation you need to put your life back together after an unexpected accident.

Call Sigman Janssen To Schedule a Free Legal Consultation

Sigman Janssen has decades of experience assisting those injured in motor vehicle crashes in Wisconsin. Our attorneys are committed to securing full compensation for all your medical costs and other damages.

We work on contingency, which means the initial consultation is free, and there are no upfront costs or fees to you. Our lawyers do not get paid unless we secure compensation through a settlement or in the courtroom.

Sigman Janssen. Local Lawyers. Proven Results. Call us at: (877) 888-5201.