Leased Car Accidents in Texas – What You Need to Know Now

Woman making and inspecting damage to her car. Leased car accident.

Leasing a car can be an excellent value for your money, especially if you appreciate having a newer model car without an exorbitant monthly payment. As with every car on the road, you stand the risk of having an automobile accident. If you are involved in a car accident with a leased vehicle, you may have questions about it.

In Lubbock, Texas, an accident involving a leased vehicle is not tremendously different from a car accident involving a vehicle you own or have financed. Contact Liggett Law Group for advice and guidance if you have specific questions. Our skills and experience will benefit you if you are driving the leased vehicle or were in an accident with a car that was leased.

Ownership of a Leased Vehicle

When a motorist drives a leased vehicle, the leasing company actually owns it. The driver is leasing, or renting, the vehicle from them according to the lease’s terms. Monthly payments are not actually paying off a car loan as in a traditional car-buying situation. They are paying for the depreciation of the vehicle, along with other fees.

When buying a car, the car owner is building up equity in their car as they pay more and more for it. This is not true for leased vehicles. Leased vehicles must be turned in at the end of the lease. Often, the leasing company offers a buyout option so that the vehicle can be bought if desired rather than simply being returned to the leasing company.

Responsibility for Care

Client signing contract for a leased car. Leased car accident.The company that leases the vehicle to the driver intends to continue to profit from the vehicle after it is returned. This may be by selling the vehicle or by finding another driver to lease it. This means the car must be properly taken care of and returned in stellar condition. The lease document outlines the terms of liability in case the vehicle is damaged throughout the course of the lease agreement.

Some terms outlined by the leasing company to protect their interests might require the person leasing the vehicle to carry extra automobile insurance. Even if the lease agreement does not require this, you can still purchase it for your own peace of mind. If a car accident occurs in the vehicle the driver has leased, additional insurance may help cover the damages that they are responsible for.

Car Insurance Requirements in Lubbock, Texas

Each state has minimum requirements for car insurance. These also are applicable for leased cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks. The specific requirements for automobile insurance in Lubbock, Texas, are as follows:

  • Property damage coverage of $25,000
  • $30,000 in coverage for bodily injury to one individual involved in a car accident
  • $60,000 worth of insurance coverage for bodily injury for two or more individuals involved in an automobile accident

There are other types of insurance that a driver might choose to carry. These can pay for the damages to a leased vehicle if there is an accident; and, these policies are smart to consider when determining your insurance coverage needs.

Liability Insurance

Texas law requires liability insurance to be carried by all drivers. Liability insurance covers the cost of damages to the other vehicle or property damaged in an auto accident. It does not, however, cover the repairs or damage to the car of the driver who caused the broadside collision. This means the driver must pay replacement or repair costs.

Collision Insurance

Automobile insurance companies offer the option of purchasing additional insurance coverage that will contribute to paying for damages to a vehicle that is leased. Collision insurance is there to pay for damage to the vehicle a motorist was operating when they caused an accident.

Comprehensive Insurance

A comprehensive insurance policy is just as it sounds. It provides comprehensive coverage for vehicle or property damage due to theft, fire, flood, vandalism, and a host of other potential incidents that could cause issues for the leased vehicle.

Gap Insurance

When shopping for insurance, gap coverage is also important to consider. If there is a “gap” between what insurance covers and the value of the vehicle, this insurance can cover the difference. This type of coverage may or may not apply to leased vehicles, so speak to your insurance agent about the specifics.

What Happens if a Leased Car is Totaled in Lubbock, Texas?

Airbag deployed in a totaled car. Leased car accident.If your car is totaled, meaning it would cost more to repair it than its value, your car is considered a total loss. This can be discouraging for the driver of a leased vehicle if, according to the terms of the lease, the driver is still responsible for paying their lease payments. The leasing company may require the driver to pay off the balance they owe, even if the car is no longer in service.

Some of the optional insurance coverage discussed above might insulate the person who leased the vehicle against such expenses by covering the payments. Before you sign a lease, you will want to understand its terms and your responsibility if a leased car accident happens. Ensure you have proper insurance coverage so you are not left to pay for a car you can no longer drive if you are at fault in a wreck.

Filing Suit Against an At-Fault Driver When a Leased Vehicle is Involved in Lubbock, Texas

If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, the other driver will likely be responsible for the damages you sustained. This would include the fair market value of a totaled leased vehicle. The steps that typically happen following a leased vehicle accident include:

  • Filing a claim with the insurance carrier of the liable driver
  • The insurance company investigating the accident and determining who was responsible for the crash
  • The at fault party’s insurance company will likely be held responsible for the damages you sustained

Damages Due to a Leased Car Accident

You may be eligible for compensation if you are injured in a car accident. You can seek compensation for both economic as well as non-economic damages. While these damages can exceed the insurance policy limits, it is important to explore what you are owed with an auto accident attorney in Lubbock, Texas.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the easiest to calculate, as they include economically measurable damages such as those listed below:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future income

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages make up a large portion of what is owed to a victim who was injured in an auto accident that was not their fault. These damages include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of community
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of mobility
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

These are not comprehensive lists but simply examples of some of the damages a person hurt in a car crash might sustain and be entitled to reimbursement.

Insurance Policy Limits

Insurance policies have limits, and while the damages sustained in an accident might exceed these limits, the insurance company will only be responsible for the limits they outlined when the policy was purchased. If the policyholder only carried the minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage, but the leased vehicle’s value is double that, you might need to speak with a Lubbock, Texas automobile accident attorney to explore your options.

If You or Someone You Love Was  Involved in a Leased Car Accident Contact Liggett Law Group Today

A car accident attorney from Liggett Law Group can review the policies and coverage available to determine the best way to approach a claim and obtain the maximum available financial car accident compensation on your behalf. Since insurance companies are in the business of profits, they may refuse to offer a settlement that is fair. Your only alternative might be to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.

Reach out today for a free consultation. We will review the specifics of your accident and help you decide the best way to proceed. We aim to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available.