Car Accidents Involving Leased Cars

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Are you already driving a leased car or considering doing so? You might have wondered if the steps following an accident in a leased car would be the same as if you owned the vehicle. 

After a car accident, many people need to seek medical treatment or call the police. They may also need to contact their auto insurance provider and hire a lawyer to assist them. Here are a few more considerations regarding car accidents involving leased cars here in Illinois.

Let Your Lease Financing Provider Know About the Accident

Technically, the vehicle leasing company owns the vehicle leased to you. That means you must notify them of any accidents involving their asset, regardless of the severity of the damage. Though it varies by contract, you normally have a few days to notify the company of the accident.

Discussing the accident with the lease finance provider can also help ensure you take the right steps to restore the vehicle. Your contract with them may also include stipulations about:

  • Whether or not the leasing company provides insurance coverage for leased cars
  • If you need to carry more than the minimum required coverage when using their cars (for example, you may also need collision coverage)
  • If you need to bring the car to a pre-approved service center to have the damage and total repair expenses assessed
  • What brands of replacement car parts are acceptable to the lease provider when doing repairs 

Such terms can affect how you get compensated for the leased car’s damages. For example, if the service center’s estimate exceeds the at-fault driver’s coverage, you may also have to file a collision coverage claim with your insurer. 

How to Recover Car Accident Damages Still Depends on Who Is Negligent

Illinois is a fault state. That means it uses a comparative negligence rule to determine two things:

  • If you can recover damages in your claim or case
  • How much you can receive if you are eligible

The law states that if you are more than 51 percent at fault for the accident, you are not entitled to compensation from the other driver or party. But if you share less of the blame, the total amount gets deducted based on the fault percentage. So, for instance, if you are 30 percent at fault, you could only receive 70 percent of the compensation for total damages. 

If the Other Driver Is More at Fault

If the other driver is primarily at fault, you could file a third-party claim with their liability insurance provider. The Illinois Secretary of State reports that motorists must carry liability insurance to help pay for the accidents they cause. 

The amount recovered typically includes the cost of the leased car’s repairs. You must assess the damage and expenses accurately. 

If You Are More at Fault

If you are more at fault for the car accident, you could only file a claim with your auto insurance company to recoup the cost of the damaged leased car. While Illinois does not require collision coverage, the leasing company might. Collision coverage helps pay for the car’s damages, regardless of who is at fault. 

You might have even been involved in a multi-car accident. In this case, two other drivers could be at fault.

What If the Leased Car Is a Total Loss?

A total loss is when a vehicle gets damaged to the point that it would be more feasible to replace it instead of repairing it. If the leased car gets totaled, the claims adjuster might opt to pay you for the car’s actual cash value (or ACV) instead of paying for the repairs. The ACV refers to the car’s current worth, including depreciation. 

Yes, You Still Have to Pay Your Lease

Although you would be unable to use the leased car while it undergoes repairs or is completely totaled, you must still fulfill the lease’s terms. So if you signed a 12-month lease for the car and totaled it seven months into the contract, you still have to pay the leasing company for the remaining five months. 

The damages recovered from the insurance claim can help cover the cost of what you still owe on the lease. As such, you will want to make sure the total damages are calculated accurately. 

Kryder Law Group, LLC Offers Free Car Accident Consultations

Were you recently in a car crash that damaged your leased vehicle? You could still file a claim to recover from your expenses and repay the leasing company. Kryder Law Group, LLC, has injury lawyers experienced with car accidents involving leased cars here in Illinois. We can work with you through the steps involved in taking legal action. 

Since 2002, our law firm has handled various practice areas ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice. To learn more about our attorney services, you can call the legal team at (312) 223-1700.

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