Any accident can be frustrating and leave you feeling unsure where to turn. When you’re in an accident with your leased car, you might worry about another layer of complexity to the process. Our Houston traffic accident lawyer is here to help you protect your rights and advocate for your case.
You may have several questions about what happens now. For example, do you still get compensation for damages and injuries? Does the leasing company file the claim? Is the process different in a leased car versus a car you own? Our attorneys are here to answer all your questions and work on your behalf to make the process as easy as possible for you.
After a car accident in a leased car, take the same steps as any other crash – call for an ambulance if anyone is injured, have law enforcement come make a police report, and take pictures of the scene and damage if you can.
Call your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer after a Crash in a Leased Car
One of the first steps you should take after a car crash is to call your Houston traffic accident lawyer. We help you navigate the paperwork and process for your claim. We also help you gather evidence for the claim. This is especially important when you’re in an accident with a leased car, as you don’t own the vehicle.
Your Houston auto accident attorney can help offer guidance as you seek compensation for damages from the at-fault driver. Also, because you don’t own the vehicle, there may be other factors to consider for your accident. For example, your leasing agreement may have certain requirements around accidents, repairs, etc.
Even though you’re leasing your car, you will still need to file the insurance claim. The leasing company will not do this for you. Though they own the car, the leasing company wasn’t there during the crash. Also, you’re entitled to compensation for other damages, like injuries, lost wages, and other losses you might suffer due to the accident. We can help you add up these damages and help you submit evidence to the other driver’s insurance.
Talking to your Leasing Company
Unlike a car accident where you own the vehicle, you’ll need to call the dealership or leasing company after your accident. Since they own the car, they have a right to know that it was involved in an accident. Most leasing agreements state this clearly and even give a timeframe for notifying the company. This is frequently within a day or two of the accident.
Also, it’s important to talk to the leasing company about any requirements they have for repairs. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you determine which questions to ask the lessor after the crash. For example, many leasing agreements have clauses in them that require you to have repairs done through a specific auto repair shop. Additionally, the leasing company may require any replacement parts to be from the original equipment manufacturer instead of aftermarket parts. It’s important to understand all the terms of your lease agreement so you can follow them properly after a car accident.
Your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer Will Help You File a Claim Against the Other Person’s Insurance
Filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance is often much the same whether you own the car or lease it. Your Houston traffic accident lawyer can help you with this process. Generally, you’ll need to take the car to a repair shop to get an estimate for the damages. This is important for understanding how much the damages will cost. Also, you’ll need to consider any other damages, like personal injuries, lost wages from time off, and other losses. This will help you know how much to ask for and may help you avoid lowball offers from the insurance company.
The insurance company will then accept or deny the claim. If they accept responsibility for the accident, then your Houston traffic accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to help you receive fair compensation. This is an important step. Even if the first settlement offer covers the car repair estimate, there may be other factors to consider. For example, current and future medical bills from the accident. When you’re in an accident with a leased car, there may even be other financial consequences you might not be aware of.
Getting the Car Fixed
If the car can be fixed, then there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you take it to the repair shop that your leasing company requires. However, if the insurance and leasing company tell you that you must take the car to different places, talk to your Houston traffic accident lawyer first. You don’t want to break the leasing agreement by taking it to the wrong place.
Also, the leasing company may require the mechanic to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts instead of aftermarket. These parts are made by the same manufacturer as the original parts for the car. They are often more expensive than aftermarket parts. Therefore, repairs may cost more than using aftermarket parts for repairs. While it may be tempting to go with the less expensive versions, there could be pricey penalties for you later when turning in the car, depending on your lease agreement.
Another important thing that your Houston auto accident attorney recommends keeping in mind is that you’re often liable for any damages to the car when you turn it in. Even if the damages from the accident are only minor and cosmetic, you likely still want to fix them. Otherwise, you could end up paying more when you turn in the leased car.
Talk to your Houston Traffic Accident Lawyer if the Leased Car is Totaled
What if the damages are so bad that the insurance company says your leased car is totaled? Generally, the insurance company will offer you the current value of the car. However, it’s important to talk to your Houston traffic accident lawyer before accepting a settlement amount. The problem with a totaled car that you’re leasing is that you will owe the leasing company what’s called the lease buyout balance. This is often a price set at the beginning of the car lease. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that this may be higher than what the insurance company offers for a totaled car. In cases like these, your Houston auto accident attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company. However, if this doesn’t work, you may choose to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for compensation.
Our Attorneys are Here to Help Your Case
At DeSimone Law Office, our attorneys offer years of experience and have helped settle thousands of cases for our clients. When you need a Houston car injury attorney, we are here to help you protect your rights against insurance companies who are only out for profit. Call us today at (713) 526-0900 for a free case evaluation with our attorneys.