Leasing is a great option for those who want a new car but don’t want to commit to buying. Still, a motorist can get into a wreck just as easily in a leased vehicle. Knowing what steps to take is vital if you hope to avoid significant financial losses as a result of the accident.
Accidents involving leased vehicles require some additional legwork for getting your car fixed. If you were physically injured, you also need to make a claim for compensation to cover your medical bills. Below, our accident lawyer tells you what you need to know.
Swap Insurance & Other Information At The Scene
Immediately following an accident, you’ll proceed just as you would after any other car wreck:
- Stop your vehicle immediately
- Call emergency services if someone needs assistance
- Swap insurance and personal information with all other drivers involved
- Call the police to report the accident
- Take pictures of damage to all vehicles
You must follow this checklist after a crash to obtain all the necessary information, otherwise getting an insurance claim approved will be a headache. if you were hurt, you should also immediately head to the hospital for tests and treatment.
Notify Your Insurance Company
An insurer needs to know about the accident, so you must call them promptly. Do so within 24 hours. Provide basic information about the wreck, such as the date, time, and location. Share other information such as the name and contact information for the other driver involved and the police report number.
A word of caution, however. Don’t give a recorded statement or any lengthy statement about what happened. Not until you speak with MG Law, that is. Odds are you are not thinking normally right after the crash and you might need some time to process what happened. Provide basic information to the insurer and then tell them you will talk to them later if they need a statement.
Notify The Dealer
The dealer or leasing company still owns the car, so they need to know about the crash. Call them as soon as you finish talking to the insurance company.
Because the dealer owns the car, they might have certain requirements regarding repairs. For example, they could require that all repairs be made with manufacturer’s parts instead of secondary parts. If you do not follow their rules, then you have violated your leasing contract. Gear up for a lawsuit or to pay penalties for your violation.
Of course, some dealers could be very helpful after a wreck. It’s their car, after all, and they have an interest in making sure it is fixed properly. Avoid delay when reaching out to them.
Get An Estimate On Repairs
The process for getting the car fixed will vary slightly depending on your insurer and the dealer. Some dealers will work directly with the insurance company to have the vehicle repaired. You will be told to drop the car off somewhere, and the next time you see it the car should be fixed.
Other dealers might require more legwork. You might need to take it to a mechanic or body shop to receive an estimate for the costs. This is why you contact the dealer after the accident. You are not the first lessee to get into a crash, and the dealership should have a process in place for repairs. Be sure to follow what they tell you.
Paying For Car Repairs Following A Wreck
Will you be required to pay for repairs? That depends on a few factors. For one, check who was at fault for the wreck. If another driver was, their insurance should step up and pay compensation for property damage. Insurance companies might bicker about fault if the facts are not clear.
If you were at fault, you might not pay anything if you carried enough collision coverage. This is no-fault insurance, so it will pay to fix a car even if you were at fault for the collision. All you might owe is the deductible, so check the policy. If you have $4,000 in damage but a $500 deductible, you will pay for the repairs and get a check for $3,500 to cover the insured amount.
Dealing With A Totaled Vehicle
A bad accident can seriously damage a leased car. Your insurer might consider the vehicle a total loss, which means they won’t pay to fix it. Instead, they will pay for the value of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this might be much less than what you owe on your lease.
Check whether you have gap insurance. Many dealers require it. Gap insurance pays for the difference between what the insurer will pay for a total loss and your remaining lease balance. It is great coverage to have for these accidents and can save you thousands of dollars.
Personal Injuries & Your Right To Compensation
If you were hurt in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation to cover medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unless your leased vehicle was defective, the dealer has no obligation to pay you compensation. Instead, you need to hire your own lawyer and seek a settlement from the person who hurt you.
In most cases, you will sue another driver who is at fault for the crash. For example, someone speeding or failing to yield is at fault if they slammed into you. This driver should carry bodily injury liability insurance as required by law. However, you will need your own attorney to carefully review the facts as known to determine fault.
Speak With MG Law Today
Accidents involving leased vehicles can cause unforeseen headaches. You need an attorney who has your best interests at heart. To maximize your compensation—and minimize any liability you might have for the wreck—please contact MG Law today.
Our lawyers can listen to your concerns and then explain the legal process for obtaining compensation for your injuries. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation.