If your leased car suffered damage in a collision, you need to take the proper steps to ensure your best interests are protected. Fortunately, for the most part, these cases proceed like other traffic accident claims.
There are, however, some crucial differences that you should keep in mind. These include the steps you need to take to notify the leasing company and ensure repairs are made properly. A car accident attorney from our firm may be able to help you navigate this process.
You Should Have Full Insurance Coverage
Several different insurance policies may be in effect when a crash involves a leased car, such as the following:
In most cases, car leases require you to carry full-coverage insurance, including comprehensive and collision coverage to repair the vehicle if you cause an accident.
Auto Liability Coverage
If another driver caused the crash, they could have a liability policy in place, per state law. This policy should cover the car repairs if there is evidence to prove the driver is responsible for the accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
These policies pay out when the at-fault motorist does not have insurance or lacks the amount of insurance necessary to pay for repairs and other losses.
As the Insurance Information Institute (III) outlines, gap coverage is often required with a leased vehicle—although it may be called a “waiver” instead of insurance. This type of policy covers the difference in what you owe and what the car is worth if the insurer totals the leased vehicle. You may also have this type of policy if you financed a new or used vehicle.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Keep in Contact with the Leasing Company
Once your injuries are addressed and your condition is stable – or as soon as possible – notify the company financing your lease about the accident. The company technically owns the vehicle and needs to know that it suffered damage quickly.
The company may also be the one dealing with the insurance company since the insurer will pay it for the property losses. This is true whether you caused the accident or another party’s liability insurance is the primary policy in play.
If the company tells you to handle the repairs, it is essential to follow its guidelines closely to protect yourself from additional expenses later. These steps could include using a dealership-approved repair facility, using only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, and more.
What do I Do If the Insurer Totals the Leased Car?
If the damage to your vehicle is too costly to repair, the insurance will total it. When this occurs, the insurer will put a market value on the car and write a check to the owner, which is the leasing company.
If there is a balance left above the lease payoff, you may get a check. However, this is rare. There is usually not enough paid by the insurer to cover the rest of your lease, which is where gap insurance comes into play.
When you signed your lease, you probably also signed a waiver for just this type of situation. You paid extra for this waiver, which is essentially gap insurance.
How Can I Recover the Other Expenses and Losses I Incurred?
If another motorist caused your collision, you could file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for the harm they caused. While the property damage losses go to the leasing company, the rest of the damages could come directly to you and your family for your:
- Medical care costs
- Lost income and reduced earning capacity
- Additional expenses related to the accident or your injuries
- Pain and suffering
You could recover compensation that covers a wide range of economic and non-economic damages in your collision case. However, it is crucial to act quickly. There are laws in each state that limit your time to file a lawsuit. This filing window varies from one year to three years in the Gulf South, depending on the state where the collision occurred.
Our personal injury law firm may be able to build a case for compensation and file your insurance claims for you. We can manage communication with the insurers, the leasing company, the liable party, and more. As your legal team, we will fight for the fair settlement you deserve or take your case to trial and present strong evidence for a court award there.
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Reach Out to Morris Bart, LLC, Today About Your Traffic Accident
Talk to the Morris Bart law firm team about your collision involving a leased car today. We may be able to help you pursue damages based on the facts of your case. Our firm provides complimentary consultations, during which we can review your case and the insurance policies at play.
We also provide our services based on contingency throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Call (800) 537-8185 now to speak with an attorney about your claim.
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