By: Christopher Bandas, Esq., The Bandas Law Firm
Leasing a vehicle is rapidly becoming one of the best ways to get your hands on a quality vehicle that might normally be out of your price range. The costs are significantly lower since you’re only responsible for the depreciation or value lost that you create rather than the value of the entire car when you buy it outright.
However, there are additional steps you have to take if you’re ever involved in a car accident in your leased vehicle. For the most part, the process is the same as if you owned it, but you need to know what the differences are as they can make a significant difference. Learn everything you need to know about dealing with a car accident in a leased vehicle.
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident in a leased vehicle, your initial response should be virtually the same as if you owned the car. First, you make sure you’re okay. After your own safety has been secured, you can move on to check on anyone else who was involved. Make sure you call the proper authorities as soon as possible. Get medical services to your location if need be, but police are always a must.
Police are essential as they’re the ones who document the scene. Their official police report carries a lot of weight if you ever pursue legal action down the line and have to prove the nature of the accident. As a bit of insurance for yourself, make sure you take a lot of pictures yourself of the accident emphasizing the positioning of the vehicles and any spots of noticeable damage.
Leased Vehicle Difference
The primary difference of an accident in a leased vehicle compared to an owned vehicle is how you report it. When you own your vehicle, you only have to report the accident to your insurance company. If it’s a leased vehicle, you also have to report the accident to the vehicle’s actual owner which is typically a leasing agency or dealership.
In addition, there may be special rules about repairs when it comes to your leased vehicle. The owner has an interest in keeping the vehicle in top shape, so it’s not uncommon for your leasing contract to include an agreement that repairs must be made with manufacturer approved parts. Failing to comply with stipulations like these can incur serious financial penalties.
Making Your Claim
When seeking compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault, the process is generally the same as it would be if you owned the car. You file with the other driver’s’ insurance company to see if they’ll cover the damages. If they refuse to cover the damages, you can take legal action against them, but sometimes it’s better and always faster to just use your own insurance.
One of the benefits of driving a leased car is that you’ll always have insurance. In most leasing contracts, collision and liability insurance is required, so you’ll already have it available. Remember, the actual owner of the vehicle will want to keep it in the best condition possible, so skipping out on the need for insurance can cost you dearly in the end.
South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident in a leased vehicle can be a complicated situation to deal with, but with an experienced car accident lawyer from Harris and Graves at your side, you can get the compensation you’re owed in no time. Contact us for a free consultation today. There’s no risk involved. We will never charge upfront payments and we don’t charge anything at all if we lose your case. Get what you’re owed today!
About The Author
Chris Bandas is a car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi, Texas and the managing partner of The Bandas Law Firm. Chris has been practicing personal injury law since 1993 and is a member of both the Texas Bar Association and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.