Whether you are visiting family or enjoying Michigan’s picturesque beach towns, the Great Lakes State has tons to offer visitors. However, if you plan to visit in the winter, snowy and icy roads increase your chances of getting into a car accident. From out-of-town drivers who are not used to the weather to local motorists who are far too cavalier about it, any number of factors can cause horrible accidents.
If you are in a Michigan car accident someone else causes, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. It can be difficult, however, when the insurance agent tries to get out of paying your claim or tries to bully you into accepting an insufficient offer. Matz Injury Law is here to help you get the compensation you deserve in the event of a rental car accident. Whether you need guidance on Michigan laws because you are from out of state, you are unfamiliar with rental car accident liability, or you need someone to fight back against the insurance company, we are here to help.
Michigan is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This means your own insurance policy covers part of your damages regardless of who caused the accident. If you have a Michigan no-fault insurance policy, your lifetime medical expenses will be covered after an accident, even if you are in a rental car. This applies regardless of whether you have supplemental rental car insurance.
A no-fault policy does not, however, cover property damage or theft. You should examine your auto insurance policy to see if it includes rental car coverage for property damage. You should also review your deductible to know the amount you need to pay out of pocket. If you have been in a rental car accident in Michigan and are unsure of your next steps, a Michigan rental car accident attorney at Matz Injury Law can help. Call us at 866-226-6833 or use our easy online form to get in touch for legal advice and a free consultation today.
Michigan law only offers benefits for specific types of damages after a car accident. The supplemental rental car insurance and collision coverage you purchase when you visit a rental car company will define your coverage.
A collision damage waiver protects you against liability if the rental vehicle is stolen or damaged. In such a case, the rental company waives its right to sue the driver for damages related to the rental period. It is wise to get such a waiver, as no-fault insurance in Michigan does not cover this.
Supplemental liability coverage pays for damage that you cause to other people or property, as well as paying for medical expenses other people incur from injury during an accident that you cause. This type of insurance comes with limits as high as $1 million. This serves as additional coverage that supplements your no-fault insurance, particularly if you have minimum limits on PIP.
Personal effects coverage offers reimbursement for the loss of personal valuables stolen from a rental car. If you have a homeowner’s or rental insurance policy that covers off-premises personal belongings, this insurance is unnecessary.
Personal accident insurance covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if any of you get injured while in a rental vehicle. Michigan no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers medical costs in car accidents affecting Michigan drivers within the United States or Canada. However, policies with limited benefits might not cover your full damages.
If you used a credit card to pay for a car rental, you might have some degree of protection for rental car accidents. This coverage widely varies by the original credit card provider. Some cards offer supplemental coverage if you have an existing primary insurance policy. Some will pay for damages before the insurance company gets involved.
Very few credit card providers will cover all rental vehicles. Most, for example, have exclusions for luxury cars, trailers, motorcycles, or RVs. In the end, check with your credit card provider before you rent a car to see if they offer extra coverage following an auto accident. A little knowledge here can save you thousands of dollars of surprise out-of-pocket expenses.
There are several situations where it is a good idea to purchase additional insurance from the rental company. If any of these apply to you, you should absolutely look into it.
If you do not have a good auto accident insurance policy, you should definitely purchase supplemental insurance in case of a rental car accident. A car crash can leave you in dire financial straits, and having insurance is essential to protect you.
If you are taking on an extended car rental, you should grab extra coverage. This is because, under Michigan law, a lease of 30 days or more makes you an owner of the vehicle. Your Michigan no-fault PIP insurance policy does not cover you in cases of long-term car leases, so if you are in an auto accident, you will need this protection.
No-fault insurance has nothing whatsoever to do with property damage, including the car and any personal property you have in the car. If you want protection against the loss of your purse, cell phone, or other valuables you might lose from theft or an accident, this is essential coverage.
This is an excellent question and an important thing to know. The answer is no. Out-of-state drivers do not benefit from Michigan’s no-fault laws. Only those people who operate a vehicle registered and insured in the state of Michigan receive Michigan’s no-fault benefits. This is a relatively recent development, as out-of-state residents could receive PIP benefits before the passing of Public Acts 21 and 22.
Depending on the laws of your home state, out-of-staters may need to sue for damages if they are in a car accident. This requires proving negligence on the part of the at-fault driver and proving that you are 50% or less at fault for the accident. You will also need to demonstrate that you have a “threshold injury,” meaning a bodily injury that is severe enough that it impacts your daily life. Accomplishing this often requires help from experienced personal injury lawyers like those at Matz Injury Law.
The first and most important thing to remember if you are in a rental car accident in Michigan is that you should treat it just like any other vehicle accident. Keep a cool, calm head, and take the following steps.
If the cars are drivable, get them off the road to help prevent further harm from drivers coming down the road. If you can, get passengers to safety. If, however, someone has suffered a serious bodily injury, do not move them until medical professionals arrive on the scene. If you can, put out road flares or reflectors to alert oncoming traffic of the dangers. The first key is to get everyone out of immediate danger.
Photograph the scene from as many angles as possible. Make notes while the accident is fresh in your mind. Take pictures of the damage. Get contact information from witnesses willing to testify to what they have seen. Exchange information with the other driver.
Call 911 immediately. This is important because you want everyone to get medical attention. This includes you, even if you do not think you are injured. Some injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to show symptoms, and a quick diagnosis can help prevent them from worsening. Getting attention at the scene also creates a medical record that shows you take the situation seriously.
Notifying first responders accomplishes a second goal as well: It allows you to report the incident to the police. Michigan law requires you to report any accident with injuries or property damage exceeding $1,000.
Next, let the rental car company know about the accident. This may be a part of your rental car agreement. In any case, especially if you have signed up for supplemental coverage, it’s essential to let the company that owns the vehicle know what happened.
Next, let your insurance company know about the accident. Again, many insurance companies require you to report all accidents to keep your coverage in place. You will also need to start your PIP claim. However, understand you do not have to speak to the insurance company after reporting the accident. You can direct them to your car accident lawyer at Matz Injury Law for further communications.
If you find yourself in a rental car accident, you can call dependable car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law. We have won millions of dollars for our Michigan clients over the years and will fight tenaciously for your right to fair compensation. Call us at 1-866-22Not33 or use our online contact form for a free consultation today. There’s no disclaimer and no obligation. We are ready to fight for you.
You can also read more about what to do if you were injured by a federally owned vehicle here.
Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.
The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.
We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.
We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.
All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.
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