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Car Accident Claims Involving Leased Vehicles
Posted in Car Accidents on January 7, 2021
Not everyone can afford a car, which is why leasing is becoming a popular option for drivers looking for a new vehicle. However, car accidents can happen any time, in any place—and in any vehicle, even if you are not the primary owner. If you are in an accident while driving a leased car, you can still pursue a claim for your injuries, you will need to keep a number of considerations in mind.
What Is Vehicle Leasing?
Cars can be expensive, but many Washington residents rely on these vehicles to commute to work, travel to school, or visit friends and family. Many prospective buyers opt to lease a vehicle over purchasing one to save these costs. It is important to remember that leasing a vehicle is not an alternative way to purchase one.
A lease is essentially a long-term vehicle rental. If you lease a vehicle, you will need to uphold certain obligations, liabilities, and benefits that your lease agreement outlines. While low down payments or low monthly costs may attract your attention, you will not own the vehicle when your lease expires unless you exercise the purchase option in your lease agreement.
Drivers with leased vehicles will still need to purchase and maintain car insurance. Many lease agreements require you to purchase certain types of insurance. In some cases, your lessor may provide insurance to you and must inform you of the type, amount, and cost of the policy. If your lessor does not offer insurance, he or she must tell you the type and amount of insurance you must purchase to comply with the lease requirements.
Reporting an Accident in a Leased Vehicle
If you are in a car accident, chances are you will need to report it. Washington law requires drivers to report an accident to law enforcement if injury, death, or over $700 in property damage occurs. However, drivers who lease their vehicles may need to take additional steps.
Most lease agreements require you to notify the car dealership or leasing company where you leased your vehicle of the accident. Your agreement may also require you to report the accident to your insurance company. After the collision, check your lease details to determine your reporting requirements.
Car Accident Claims for Leased Vehicles
Since Washington is a fault accident state, drivers responsible for accidents must pay for the damages of the victims. If you believe the other driver was at-fault, you can pursue compensation for your losses regardless of whether your vehicle was leased or not.
You have two options for compensation: an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or a personal injury lawsuit in Washington civil court. Many claims begin in the insurance stage and proceed to a lawsuit if necessary, although your case may be different. To understand what to do next, it is important to speak with a Seattle personal injury lawyer.
After the accident, call 911 to bring law enforcement to the scene. Safely gather as much evidence as you can, exchange information with the other driver, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you receive treatment, contact a Washington car accident attorney to discuss your case and legal options.