How do I go about getting a rental car after an accident?
Question Details: This is my first time I have ever had to file a claim with my insurance company and need legal advice. My 14 year old daughter and I were in a car accident recently. The accident wasn't my fault; it was the other driver's. I had a green light I was going southbound while the other car was on other other side of the road. She pulled out in front of me trying to turn to go west on the freeway. I have filed a claim with my insurance company and have followed up with her insurance company. I just need to know how I go about getting a rental vehicle since my vehicle is totaled.
Do you have rental coverage on your own insurance, which would apply to this situation? If you do, your insurer needs to pay for your rental, and you should speak to them about how to arrange this. They must provide you the coverage in your policy (which is a contract) and for which you paid.
However, if you don't have rental coverage in your own policy, if the other driver's insurer does not voluntarily pay for coverage (or generally offer you an acceptable settlement), you'd have to sue the other driver for the various costs and losses you suffered, like the value of your car and the cost of a rental for a reasonable time. The problem you face is that the other driver's insurer is the other driver's insurer, not yours; it does not have any duty or obligation directly to you. It's obligtation is to pay on behalf of its driver (up to policy limits) when its driver has to pay. While the other driver's insurer will often voluntarily pay or settle a case, to resolve it without the cost of defending a lawsuit, they don't have to; until and unless there is court order or judgment in your favor against the other driver, the other driver and/or his insurer do not have to pay anything. They can refuse to pay and force you to sue; or they can offer you a settlement lower than you'd like (e.g. without rental reimbursement) and force you to decide between taking the settlement and getting some money now, without the cost and uncertainty (no case is ever 100% certain) of a lawsuit; or refusing the low settlement and taking the time and spending the money to sue, and not getting paid, even if you win, for months or longer.
In the interim, if they are not offering you anything and you have to look into suing, you will have to pay for your own rental car (again, unless your own policy gives you rental car coverage), then seek reimbursement from the other side in the lawsuit.