Attorneys for Car Accidents in a Leased Car

SUV on tow truck after an accident

As many as 32% of drivers lease their vehicles (CarsDirect¹). That means a large percentage of car accidents involve leased vehicles. When you’re in a car accident with a leased car, it can be a little different than if you own the vehicle, and it’s important to take the right steps to get the compensation you deserve.

Our Miami car accident attorneys explain what to do and what you can expect after a leased car accident.

What Happens If You Crash a Leased Car?

If you’re in an accident with a leased car, insurance may cover repairs. The lease may continue. If the vehicle is totaled, you may pay off the lease using the insurance money. However, you may roll the balance into a new vehicle lease.

Also, the victim may be able to claim compensation through no-fault laws or from the responsible driver through a car accident legal claim. Speak to an attorney for leased car accidents to see if you qualify to bring a claim.

How to Get Compensation After a Leased Vehicle Accident

person opening an envelope with a check inside

A car accident in a leased vehicle may result in personal injury and vehicle damage. You may wonder what you can do to get compensation. There are multiple avenues you may pursue, including:

  1. No-Fault Compensation for a Leased Vehicle Accident

If you’re driving a leased vehicle in Florida, you probably still have no-fault insurance. All drivers must have no-fault insurance at a minimum. It is the first place that you can look for compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Demonstrating fault is not a requirement.

  1. Third-Party Claim for Injuries

What happens if you have serious injuries? Florida law may allow you to bring a claim against the party or parties who caused the accident. Victims with serious injuries may go outside the no-fault system and claim compensation for financial losses plus pain and suffering.

  1. Vehicle Damage for a Leased Vehicle Accident

Florida law requires all drivers to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability per crash (FLHSMV²). Although this is a low amount, it is still coverage for vehicle repairs. The insured party may have purchased additional coverage. It can pay for vehicle repairs if the other party is at fault for the accident.

  1. Compensation for the Vehicle Balance Through Gap Coverage

The value of a leased vehicle in a crash may not cover the remaining balance on the lease—that’s a known problem. To counter this problem, there is gap insurance. Gap insurance is what it sounds like—it’s meant to cover the difference between the balance of the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident and the amount that the driver owes on the lease.

Check to see if you have gap insurance. Often as part of lease agreement requirements, there’s a good chance you do!

What To Do for a Leased Vehicle Accident?

If you’re in an accident in a leased vehicle, here’s what you should do and what you can expect.

  1. Make an accident report immediately with the police.
  2. Also, report the accident to your insurer and the leasing company.
  3. Determine if repairs can be made. If they can be made, make sure the repair shop is accepted under your lease agreement.
  4. If the vehicle is totaled, the insurance company should cover the value of the vehicle up to the policy limit. Gap insurance may cover the difference.
  5. You may pay the value of the vehicle and end the lease or roll the balance into another lease.

Accident in a Leased Vehicle – FAQs

woman rubbing neck after a car accident

If you’re in a car accident with a leased car, you should know the following:

Do I Have To Report an Accident in a Leased Car?

Laws for reporting accidents are the same for everyone, including those involved in a leased car crash. You must report any accident in Florida that results in:

  1. Bodily injury
  2. Death
  3. Apparent damage of $500 or more

Be sure to remain at the scene, report the accident and gather information for the others involved.

What If the Accident in the Leased Car Was Not My Fault?

If it’s proven that the leased car accident was not your fault, insurance should be able to cover many of your expenses, including medical bills. Depending on the circumstances and the extent of the damages, you may also qualify to bring a legal claim against the at-fault driver.

What Happens if You Total a Leased Car?

Totaling your car doesn’t break your vehicle lease. You may have repairs done and continue the lease. A deductible may apply for the repair work. If the car is totaled, you must pay the remaining portion of the lease or roll the remaining balance into a new lease agreement.

Who Can Repair a Leased Vehicle?

Be sure to check your lease agreement. You may need to have the work done at an approved repair shop after crashing a leased car.

Does an Accident Affect a Car Lease?

Vehicle Lease Agreement

By itself, an accident does not affect a car lease. The driver still owes the leasing company for the rest of the lease agreement. Repairs can be done, and the lease can continue. Alternatively, you may pay for the vehicle (lease buyout after accident) or roll the outstanding cost into a new agreement.

Who Gets the Insurance Check When a Leased Car Is Totaled?

If the car is totaled, the insurance check goes to the leasing company to satisfy the remaining balance of the lease. Most of the time, it’s not enough for the driver to break even. The driver may have guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance to make up the difference.

What if You Disagree With the Value of the Vehicle?

If the damages in a crash are serious, the vehicle may be a total loss. The insurance company may pay you for the fair market value of the car. However, be sure to evaluate their assessment of that amount. It may be worth getting your own appraisal, especially if that value is much less than your expected.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Leased Vehicle Crash?

Leased car accident claims can be complex. It involved several parties, including the insurance companies, the leasing company, the other driver, witnesses, and others who can play a pivotal role in how much compensation you receive.

Working with an experienced lawyer for leased vehicle accidents can help you maximize your settlement and secure the financial support you need and deserve.

Attorneys for Car Accidents Involving Leased Vehicles

Have you been in an accident involving a leased vehicle? Are you wondering how to receive fair compensation? At Bernstein & Maryanoff, our specialized attorneys for car accidents handle claims involving leased vehicles every day.

We know the steps to take to make your claim a success. Our attorneys are aggressive, determined litigators. We use every avenue to reach the best possible result after an accident in a leased vehicle.

Sources:

¹Patel, J. (27 June 2019). Car Leasing Hits New Record Despite High Prices. CarsDirect. Retrieved 26 April 2022.

²Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Involved in a Crash? Retrieved 26 April 2022.