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Hit by a Rental Car Driven by A Foreigner

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who was hit be a driver who was in a borrowed rental car and says “it looks like there may not be insurance covering the other driver, who also is a foreigner and didn’t have a drivers license with him to show the officer, what are my legal options?”

Typically, if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, there’s a series of steps you would take after the crash and procedures you would follow to facilitate an exchange of information.

The exchanged information might include insurance, names of parties involved, vehicle damage, and police reports if available. But what if one party is driving a rental car? What then? The procedure and the information exchanged are the same as if both vehicles were owned by their respective drivers.

If you are hit by someone driving a car, and that person is found to be at fault for the accident, then that person would be liable for the resulting damages. In most cases, they have insurance, and the responsibility to pay falls on the insurance company insuring the vehicle of the at-fault driver. That same scenario would apply to rental cars.

Suppose the person renting the car doesn’t have personal vehicle insurance. In that case, the rental company may offer the renter coverage as part of the rental agreement. Unfortunately, the supplemental insurance offered is the most basic (or minimal) liability coverage in many cases. It may not cover all the expenses related to the accident. And any damage not paid by insurance would be the responsibility of the person who caused the accident. But, it may be difficult to collect money owed for damage inflicted if insurance is lacking.

If the scenario is one where a prompt, fair settlement is impossible, a law firm can step in and promptly file suit to recover compensation for not only physical and emotional injuries but medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

But what if the person who caused the accident was a foreigner or someone who wasn’t on the rental agreement and borrowed or possibly stole the vehicle in question? Who is responsible?

If the driver who hit you does not have personal automobile insurance, did not purchase rental car insurance, or had no other policy that would cover liability in an accident, the victim may have to resort to submitting a claim with their own insurance accessing their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Now you may think that’s a lot of “ifs” and a lot of things have to transpire for the worst case to happen where you are relying on your own insurance to payout. But those exact scenarios have played out enough times that insurance companies now recommend motor vehicle owners to have uninsured and underinsured coverage to some extent, so they’re covered when needed.

If you were injured or involved in an accident, it is critical that you consult with an attorney who has extensive trial litigation experience. If your case cannot be settled, you must have an attorney who understands how to prepare your case for trial and win your case.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, a product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”