Many drivers are opting to lease a vehicle instead of purchasing the vehicle. There are many advantages to leasing a vehicle, including lower car payments, a new vehicle every few years, a more expensive vehicle, and lower repair costs because the vehicle is under factory warranty during the lease. However, what happens if you are in a car accident in a leased vehicle? Who is responsible for the damages caused by the accident?
The Other Driver Caused the Crash
If another driver caused the crash, that driver’s insurance company should be responsible for paying the damages caused by the crash. The company’s liability would include paying for repairs to the leased vehicle or paying the market value of the vehicle if it was totaled. If the vehicle was totaled, the payment would go directly to the leasing company. The compensation for all other damages should be paid directly to you as with any other car crash claim that was the fault of the other driver.
However, if the other insurance company disputes fault, you may need to contact your insurance company to discuss repairs under your policy. Leasing companies require that you carry comprehensive and collision coverage just as a lender would require these types of insurance coverage if you purchased the vehicle with a loan. If your insurance company pays for the repairs, it will pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance if that driver was truly at fault.
One of the important things to remember when leasing a vehicle is to purchase adequate insurance coverage. You should discuss all types of automobile insurance, including gap insurance so that you will not be liable for the payment of thousands of dollars to a leasing company in the event of a car crash.
Additional Steps to Take After a Car Accident in a Leased Vehicle
Your first priority, if you are involved in a car accident in a leased vehicle, is the same as it would be in any situation — call 911 and request emergency medical services. You need to protect your health by seeing a doctor as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you document the damage to the vehicle. Taking pictures of the scene of the accident is very important.
After you call your insurance provider to report the accident, you need to contact the leasing company to report the crash. The leasing company may request a copy of the traffic report. However, as with any crash, do not admit fault, even to the leasing company without consulting with a Louisiana car accident attorney.
If the vehicle is not totaled, you need to take the vehicle for estimates to the service facility recommended by the leasing company. The leasing company may also direct you to take the vehicle to a specific service facility for repairs. If for some reason the insurance provider and the leasing company direct you to use different repair shops, you should consult with an attorney before doing anything further. You do not want to breach either the lease agreement or your insurance contract.
Call a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney for Assistance
If you are in a car accident in a leased vehicle, you could face several issues that are not common in accidents involving a purchased vehicle. A car accident attorney can help you navigate the complex issues related to car accidents and leased vehicles.
In addition to dealing with the insurance company, you must also deal with the leasing company. The leasing company adds another level of frustration that you must deal with as you try to focus on your recovery. A car accident attorney can guide you through the process while protecting your rights and best interests.
The Law Offices of Blaine J. Barrilleaux assist accident victims throughout Louisiana as they seek compensation for injuries sustained in vehicle-related accidents. Call 337-989-1212 in Lafayette or 504-218-4419 in Metairie. Our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims and their families.