Today, about one-fourth of the cars on U.S. roadways are leased including cars. How does that affect a driver’s insurance and just do you do if you are involved in an accident?
Car leases often require more than the minimum state insurance requirements. Lessors want their investment protected. And if you as the lessee are partially at fault in an accident, having good insurance comes in handy. If you have been involved in a Las Vegas or Henderson car accident in your leased car, the experienced legal team of Pacific West Injury Law can help you navigate your way through the paperwork and the legal system.
Insurance Requirements for Leased Cars
If you have leased a car, you know you were not able to drive off the lot before obtaining auto insurance. You agreed to maintain the insurance requirements for the length of your lease. Different car brands have different insurance requirements when you lease one of their cars, but all require the state minimum coverage.
In Nevada that includes a minimum of $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for two or more people. An additional $20,000 of property damage liability coverage is also required. While it isn’t more expensive to insure a leased car, leasing companies may require higher coverage which will cost more. Four times the state minimum coverage is not unusual.
Most auto leasing companies will also request comprehensive and collision insurance coverage. And the leasing company must be included as an additional insured and loss payee. The lessor remains the owner of the car and as such would receive any payout for damages to the car.
The lease agreement may also require gap insurance. If not, you may want to get it anyway. Gap insurance may be found in lease agreements to aid in the event of the car is totaled or stolen.
According to the Federal Reserve, gap coverage helps alleviate the financial gap that comes with the early termination of a lease. It doesn’t cover any past-due or missed payments. Generally, it will not be responsible for covering your insurance deductible either.
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What to Do Following an Accident in a Leased Car
First, you will need to care for your injuries. After your medical needs are met and you get home, you will need to call your insurance company and the car dealership or leasing company. Then you need to contact a good car accident attorney.
In the areas of Las Vegas and Henderson, Kris Hemrich of Pacific West Injury Law is not only qualified and experienced but is also known for his determination to roll up his sleeves and get to work for his clients. Their testimonials speak for themselves.
Can I File a Legal Claim Against the Other Driver If I Was in My Leased Car?
Absolutely! If you were in an accident, and you feel the other driver was at fault, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you get compensation for your injuries and your leased vehicle. The process is virtually the same whether you own the car or have leased it.
What your attorney will need:
- Your recollection of the accident
- A copy of the police report
- Your insurance information
- The car leasing company’s information
- Information on the other driver involved including their insurance company
- Witness names and contact information
- Copies of your medical records and bills from the accident
- Car damage estimates from the service facility approved by your leasing company
Proving fault can, at times, be rather easy, and other times far more difficult. That is one of the reasons having an experienced car accident attorney is especially important.
What Compensation You May Receive
Receiving the finances to repair the car may be in the forefront of your mind, but you may deserve much more. Other compensation may include:
- Reimbursement of all medical bills due to injuries from the accident
- Loss of employment during recuperation
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
While the cost of car repairs and medical bills are defined amounts, consideration of other compensation should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney.
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Will I Have to Go to Trial?
Maybe. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company or lawyer will not provide proper compensation to cover the damages of your leased car and your injuries, you may have to file a lawsuit. Often though, once a suit is filed, the parties involved will agree to a suitable settlement.
The decision of settling is always yours. Your attorney can provide you with his experience and expertise, but the final decision is yours.
How Do the Accident and Legal Claim Affect My Lease?
In the unfortunate event that your leased car was totaled, your lease with that car will be over. In Nevada, a car is considered a total loss when the projected repairs will cost more than 65% of the value of the car before the accident. Either your legal claim or your insurance will have to pay the leasing company the value of the vehicle.
But if the car is repairable, you will need to keep up with payments during the process of your legal claim and a potential lawsuit. During that time, you can get the vehicle repairs and pay for it through your insurance or out-of-pocket or hold off until you reach a settlement or learn the outcome of a trial. If you win the legal claim, the other driver’s insurance company will reimburse your insurance company.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Seek Compensation
Following a car accident, your focus should be on healing from your injuries. Hiring a car accident lawyer such as Kris Hemrich of Pacific West Injury Law will help take the legal problems prompted by the accident off your mind. The fact that your car is leased adds one more element to what could become a complex legal case.
If you’re in Las Vegas or Henderson, we can help. Call for your free consultation with Pacific West Injury Law today.