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Car Accident Claims Involving Leased Vehicles

Colburn Law

Cars can be expensive, and very few people can afford to pay for a vehicle out of pocket. As a result, leasing is a popular financing option for those in the market for a new car. A car lease allows you to rent a car for a certain period of time and return it at the end of the agreed-upon time.

Getting into an accident while driving a leased vehicle can be stressful. If you are in an accident with a leased car, it is important to consult with a lawyer about your legal options and notify your leasing company as soon as possible.

Who Is Liable for Damages to a Leased Car?

If you were injured in a car accident, you may be eligible for a settlement. In Washington, drivers who cause an accident are financially liable for any physical injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses that their victims experience. These laws apply regardless of whether you were driving a leased vehicle.

In the event of an accident involving a leased car, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver and recover financial compensation for your losses. However, you will need to prove that the driver’s actions caused your collision. Examples of factors that could contribute to liability include:

Car Accident Claims Involving Leased Vehicles

What Should You Do If You Crash a Leased Car?

Although your legal options do not change if you are driving a leased vehicle, your lease will affect the actions that you should take after an accident. In the event that you crash a leased car, you are required to inform the leasing company of the collision as soon as possible. Additionally, you should take your vehicle to a repair shop for an assessment of the vehicle’s damage.

You should also take the following steps to protect yourself and recover evidence for your future claim:

  • Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement.
  • Seek medical attention and save your medical records.
  • Collect the other driver’s insurance, license, and contact details. 
  • If any witnesses saw the accident, collect their contact information.
  • Take pictures and videos of the accident site, your injuries, and the area around the collision.

How Does a Car Accident Affect Your Vehicle Lease?

A car accident does not usually affect the terms of a lease agreement. You will still need to pay for the remaining installments and return the vehicle at the end of your term. However, your lease contract may charge you for the cost of your repairs if you return the leased car with excessive damage.

Before returning a leased car, you should seek repairs as soon as possible and ensure the vehicle is in good condition. Your car accident claim will help pay for the cost of these repairs or provide fair-market compensation if the vehicle was totaled. 

If your lease ends before you can repair your vehicle, you may have some options to reduce potential penalties. You could buy out the vehicle at the end of the lease, roll over the damage cost to your next lease, or negotiate an extension. A lawyer can help you understand your options.

As soon as possible after your accident, it is important to consult with a Washington car accident attorney who can protect your best interests. Speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible about your legal options and to initiate your claim.