A car lease has become a common alternative to purchasing a vehicle. A long-term lease allows an individual to have a new car with a payment that is typically lower than their monthly payment would be if they purchased the vehicle. However, a lease comes with some drawbacks. The person does not own the car, their yearly mileage allowance is limited, and they need to return the car at the end of the lease. So, what happens if you are in an accident with a leased vehicle? Does it impact the lease? The simple answer is no. Nonetheless, if you have a leased vehicle and are in an accident, there are some things you need to know. Below, our Hollywood, FL car crash attorney from South Florida Law, PLLC discusses car accidents and leases.
What Do Car Leases Require in Florida?
When you lease a vehicle in Florida, you sign a contract. That contract will stipulate how many months the lease will last and what your monthly payment will be. Other provisions in the lease agreement will specifically address what occurs if you are in an accident, including reporting requirements and directions on where to have the vehicle repaired.
First, nearly every lease agreement will mandate that the driver carry insurance coverage for both liability and collision. Collision coverage is required to pay property damage to the vehicle in case of an accident, while liability coverage is for personal injuries that are suffered in an accident.
Most leases also include a provision that requires that an accident must be reported to the leasing company. This requirement is in addition to having to notify your insurance provider. Also, there might be particular guidelines for handling repairs in the wake of a collision.
if your leased car is totaled in a car accident, you still owe the balance of the lease. An insurance company might declare a leased vehicle a total loss. If this occurs, you will be required to pay the current Kelly Blue Book or NADA value of the car. However, it is not uncommon for the vehicle’s current value to be less than the lease balance. Because this is a possibility, purchasing a “gap” insurance policy is usually recommended to cover the deficiency. If you were not at fault, our Miami car accident attorney could help you try and recover any monetary losses through a civil claim.
Having a Damaged Leased Car Repaired in Florida
if you lease a car and are involved in an accident, you will be responsible for any repairs the vehicle needs. Fortunately, you should be carrying collision insurance to cover any necessary repairs. Additionally, in some cases where another driver or party was at-fault, their insurance might cover the cost of repairs. It is essential to talk with a knowledgeable Hallandale Beach car accident attorney to determine if any third-parties could be held liable, such as another driver, a car or part manufacturer, or a municipality if a road was poorly maintained.
However, when you have any repairs performed, you must follow any contractual provisions in your lease. Many car leases do not permit the use of aftermarket parts when a vehicle is repaired. Furthermore, some leases will dictate where a leased car should be serviced.
if you fail to comply with your lease’s terms and conditions, you could be facing additional financial penalties and risk not being reimbursed for unauthorized repairs. Should you have repairs made without notifying the leasing company, the penalties and fines could be assessed when you return the vehicle at the end of the lease. You should contact your leasing company after an accident to report the incident and request instructions on how to proceed.
Accidents Involving Leased Vehicles Caused by Negligent Drivers in Florida
if you are in a leased vehicle and in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation for your damages. Many individuals are not fully aware of their legal rights or the potential value of their claim. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Ft. Lauderdale injury attorney as soon as possible.
if another driver caused the crash, you have to go through the same process as any other car crash. This means getting the name of the other driver and the contact information for their insurance company. Before talking with any insurance company, you should speak with a Florida car accident lawyer. Our office can help you negotiate a settlement or, if necessary, prepare a personal injury lawsuit.
In addition to working directly with the various insurance companies involved, our attentive lawyers and staff will work with your leasing company. There are many factors to consider after an accident, including whether to have the car repaired, the extent of your injuries, required medical treatment, and the strength of your case given the available evidence. Our experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney will assist you in dealing with this many branching decisions.
Contact Our Florida Lawyer if You Were in an Accident With a Leased Vehicle
Leasing a car should provide a person with peace of mind. The vehicle is new, it is regularly maintained, and it is covered by insurance. However, if a car accident occurs, there are some additional issues and legal hurdles to consider. At South Florida Law, PLLC, our knowledgeable attorneys and staff provide professional and robust representation to individuals and their families who were injured in crashes involving leased vehicles. To better understand your rights and obligations under the terms of your car lease, call our office at (954) 932-7877 to schedule a free consultation.