Rental Truck Accidents: What Renters and Victims Need to Know

Rental Truck Accidents: What Renters and Victims Need to Know
Calendar icon August 18, 2023

New York rental truck accidents have the capacity to be nearly as destructive as semi-truck accidents due to their size. Yet, they are usually not operated by professional drivers. Most people only drive a rental truck for specific occasions, such as moving a child into college, relocating across the state for a new job, or switching apartments. 

This lack of familiarity with the truck’s limitations and potentially unfamiliar streets can increase the likelihood of a collision with another motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Determining liability can be a nightmare, depending on the cause of the crash. Meanwhile, you may be struggling to pay your medical bills, sacrificing necessities to make up for lost wages, and suffering from painful injuries.

Rental Truck Accidents: What Renters and Victims Need to Know

At Cellino Law, we are prepared to deal with the complexities that often arise in a rental truck accident claim. With several decades of experience negotiating fair settlements for injured New Yorkers, Cellino Law is the team you want to represent your interests. You can call us at (888) 888-8888 to schedule a free consultation with our team or reach out through our online form.

The Dangers of New York Rental Truck Accidents

Rental trucks’ unfamiliar design makes turning, merging, changing lanes, and coming to a safe stop significantly more difficult for many renters. The length of the trailer portion creates large blind spots, which can quickly become a problem. Drivers must make wider turns than they are likely used to, creating another opportunity for a collision

Additionally, the weight of a rental truck means it will take longer to stop as compared to the passenger vehicles most renters are accustomed to. Rental trucks share similar drawbacks with semi-trucks, but the difference is that you don’t need a commercial driver’s license to operate a rental truck.

Further, rental truck drivers are not bound by the same requirements as professional drivers, like mandatory breaks to decrease the risk of drowsy driving. Rental truck drivers who are distracted, impaired, fatigued, or simply reckless are further jeopardizing the safety of their fellow motorists and road users.

A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a government agency regulating commercial vehicles, offers data to support that rental truck accidents are almost exclusively attributable to driver error, whether the rental truck driver or another driver.

Understanding Your Coverage as a Rental Truck Driver in New York

In a scenario where you are driving a rental truck and causing an accident, knowing what coverage your insurance provides is essential. While you were likely asked to present proof of insurance when renting the truck, your insurance does not necessarily provide coverage for rental truck accidents. In fact, many insurance carriers don’t because of the heightened risk of liability.

Rental truck companies are aware of this, and many offer temporary supplemental coverage.  Penske, a well-known rental truck provider, has several options for renters. The lowest level covers physical damage to the truck regardless of fault, the next level includes coverage for authorized drivers against third-party claims seeking compensation for injuries or property damage.

This is followed by a package that also protects your cargo up to $15,000, and the last level offers all of the aforementioned coverage plus insurance for a rental truck driver and their passenger if they are injured or killed in an accident. In the event that your personal insurance excludes rental trucks and you do not purchase supplemental coverage, you are effectively uninsured.

Pathways for Compensation if You Were Injured in a Rental Truck Accident

No-Fault Insurance Offers Straightforward Coverage for Financial Losses

New York mandates that drivers carry Personal Injury Protection insurance, which offers no-fault coverage in the event of an accident. That means you are entitled to $50,000 as the policyholder, and any passengers in your car can also potentially claim $50,000, even if your actions caused the rental truck accident.

The limitations of this option are that New York PIP does not cover property damage, nor does it compensate you for non-economic damages like loss of quality of life. Instead, it focuses on the two most common major expenses for injury victims: medical bills and lost wages. You might rely on PIP if you only sustained minor injuries or were at fault for the collision with the rental truck.

Small Claims Court is an Option for Low-Value Recoveries

Small claims courts deal with cases seeking less than $5,001 for economic damages. While no-fault PIP insurance handles medical expenses and lost wages, it excludes other common monetary losses like property damage. Where filing a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is often time-consuming, representing yourself in small claims court can be a hassle-free way to recover these types of costs.

Say that you were in a rear-end rental truck accident where you sustained a relatively minor whiplash injury and your car’s bumper was damaged.

Your Personal Injury Protection covers your doctor’s visit for your whiplash injury, but you still have the expense of repairing the bumper and the rental car you used while your vehicle was in the shop. All told, you’re only seeking about $1,000, which doesn’t really justify a personal injury lawsuit.

Third Party Insurance Claims Offer More Types of Compensation if You Can Meet the Qualifications

This type of claim involves making your case for compensation to the negligent rental truck driver’s insurance carrier, arguing that their actions caused your injuries. Your claim will be adjudicated by an insurance agent, which can lead to a faster settlement. The tradeoff is the agent’s agenda is to pay you the lowest justifiable amount to protect their profits.

Third-party insurance claims provide compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. In order to file a third-party insurance claim, you must meet the legal threshold to be eligible. Either you sustained a serious injury, had more than $50,000 of damages covered by PIP, have inadequate insurance, or are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of someone who was fatally injured.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Often Take Longer to Settle But Can Result in Better Compensation

The legal threshold still applies to injured parties seeking compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Once you have cleared that, you still have to provide enough evidence of the defendant’s negligence and its connection to your injuries and damages to fulfill the burden of proof for a personal injury claim.

If you can establish that the rental truck driver, the rental truck company, or another party like the truck parts manufacturer is liable, you are one step closer to recovering compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.

You may have a better chance of maximizing your compensation, as personal injury lawsuits are negotiated with a judge or jury as the final decision rather than an insurance company.

Choose Cellino Law to Negotiate Your New York Rental Truck Accident Claim

If an insurance company is involved in the process of you seeking compensation for your damages, you need a reliable legal advocate to represent your interests. The rental truck lawyers of Cellino Law can provide that knowledge base and beneficial resources. New Yorkers have trusted our family for generations based on the treatment they receive and the results we secure.

Our team is tenacious and thorough, which is a great combination when it comes to parsing complex insurance issues and documenting damages. At Cellino Law, you can feel confident that our personal injury attorneys will go the extra mile to maximize your compensation in your New York rental truck accident claim.

Contact Cellino Law About Your New York Rental Truck Accident Lawsuit

After a New York rental truck accident, you may be in the fight of your life. Maybe you are overwhelmed by medical debt after being T-boned by a U-Haul, facing a claim against your insurance after you reversed into a rental truck, or considering a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your chronic pain

The personal injury lawyers of Cellino Law are ready to support you in a variety of scenarios to ensure you are properly compensated for your damages. Our team will prioritize your needs as we protect your right to seek compensation, evaluate how much your claim is worth, and compile evidence to establish the defendant’s negligence, if necessary.

Don’t let the multitude of options for compensation deter you from seeking the financial relief you need. At Cellino Law, we are committed to making the claims process as streamlined as possible so that you can receive the compensation you are entitled to sooner rather than later.

We encourage you to call us at (888) 888-8888 or reach out through our online form to set up a free consultation with one of our skilled rental truck accident lawyers.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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