Leased Car Accident Lawyer in Queens, NY
Many Queens residents choose to lease a new car rather than purchase one outright. Because a car lease is essentially a long-term rental, there may be confusion about who is financially responsible for a person who has been injured in a leased car accident.
According to New York’s no-fault insurance rules, a driver injured in a collision files an initial claim against their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This can make it difficult to understand which insurance carrier a driver would file a claim with after an accident in a leased car — the leasing agency, which owns the car, or their own insurer. There are further considerations for injury claims that exceed the coverage limits of no-fault insurance, as well as for compensation to repair a leased car.
If you have been injured in a car accident that involved a leased vehicle, you should contact an experienced Queens car accident attorney to get a clear understanding of your legal options. Regardless of the circumstances of the car accident you were in or your injuries. The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C. can untangle how insurance coverage applies to your accident and help you seek full compensation if you have been seriously injured by another driver’s negligence.
What To Do After an Accident in a Leased Car
If you are involved in an accident in a leased car, you must stop and report the accident to the police. At your first opportunity, you should seek medical attention for any injuries you have sustained. If you are able, you should take photos of the vehicles and their damage at the scene of the accident and any visible injuries you have. Try to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
Because you do not own your leased car, you need to notify the dealership or leasing agency about the car crash, regardless of whether the accident was your fault or the other driver’s fault. Follow the agency’s instructions for dealing with the damaged car.
If you are leasing from a car dealership, the dealership may require you to let them repair the vehicle. Otherwise, your lease will likely require you to have the dealership or leasing agency approve any garage you take the vehicle to for repair. A leasing agency is also likely to require that you use original equipment manufacturer parts to repair the vehicle, not after-market parts.
How Can I Get Compensation After an Accident with a Leased Car?
After an accident in a leased car that results in you being seriously injured, you may face the prospect of multiple insurance claims. The leased car accident lawyers of The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., can help you pursue all of the compensation you deserve from:
- Personal Injury Protection coverage, which will pay for medical costs and lost income up to the coverage maximum.
- A third-party claim, which you may have the right to pursue if you are seriously injured. Under New York law, this requires an injury such as a broken bone, a significant limitation of the use of a body function, or substantially full disability for 90 days following the accident. A third-party claim is against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance, which in New York covers up to $25,000 for medical expenses from bodily injury and $10,000 for vehicle damage.
- Personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for pain and suffering, as well as for medical expenses, lost income, and property damage.
- UIM coverage, which you may rely on for medical bills if the driver who caused your accident has no liability insurance.
- Collision coverage, which pays the cost to repair or replace the leased vehicle if you were at fault.
- Gap coverage, against which a claim would be filed if a leased vehicle was totaled in a crash. Your gap insurance should pay out the difference between the actual value of the vehicle and the amount owed on the lease.
After an accident in a leased car, you can seek compensation for your medical costs, lost income, and damage to the vehicle through your auto insurance. When your injuries are serious, you may seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance or through other assets as may be available.
Another complication to car accident claims in New York is the application of the pure comparative fault standard. Under comparative fault rules, compensation awarded in a personal injury claim is apportioned according to how much each driver was at fault for the accident. If the jury decides compensation should be awarded, it sets an amount and then decides how much each driver contributed to the accident. If you were partially at fault, any compensation you receive through a personal injury claim may be reduced accordingly.
For example, if a jury awarded $100,000 in compensation for an accident and an injured person seeking compensation was found to be 25% at fault for an accident, then the person would be eligible to collect $75,000.
What Does It Mean to Lease a Car?
A car lease is a long-term rental agreement that allows you to drive a new vehicle for an established length of time and number of miles. A typical car lease is for 36 to 60 months. Leases often have mileage limits of 10,000 or 15,000 miles per year. A per-mile fee is typically charged for mileage that exceeds the limit when the lease ends.
Leasing a car is attractive to some drivers because monthly payments are lower than the payments on a car loan to purchase a new vehicle. In an urban area like Queens with dependable public transportation, it is easier than it may be elsewhere to stay within a leased vehicle’s mileage limit.
When the lease term is up, the driver may return the car to the dealership and walk away, contract to lease another new car or buy the car they’ve been driving.
Insurance Requirements for a Leased Car in New York
Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, each car owner is required to carry personal injury protection coverage (PIP) of at least $50,000. Coverage extends to all members of the car owner’s household and any passengers if they are not covered under other auto insurance.
Anyone injured in a car accident files a claim with their own PIP policy to recover the costs of their initial medical bills and lost income. Your PIP insurance should pay for your initial losses up to coverage limits, regardless of fault for the accident.
If your injuries are serious as defined by New York law, you may have the right to pursue a legal claim for additional compensation against a driver who caused your car accident.
New York State law requires that motorists carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. New York requires coverage of:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons
- $10,000 for property damage in any one accident.
New York also requires car owners to maintain uninsured motorist coverage or UIM. This insurance protects you if a hit-and-run driver or someone without liability insurance injures you.
When leasing a vehicle, you will be required by the leasing company to carry comprehensive and collision insurance coverage, as well as gap insurance, to protect the vehicle.
Collision coverage pays to have the car repaired after a crash that is the policyholder’s fault.
Comprehensive coverage pays in cases of theft or damage caused by an incident other than a collision, such as hail, flood, fire, falling trees, or vandalism.
Guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance pays any difference between what you owe on your lease and what collision coverage on the car will pay if it is totaled.
You may have multiple insurance claims after an accident involving a leased car and multiple parties involved in your efforts to recover compensation for all of your losses. The claims process can be difficult to manage especially if you are trying to recover from serious injuries. You should contact a Queens leased car accident lawyer to get an understanding of the steps you can take and whether you have a right to hold the other driver accountable.
Contact a Queens Leased Car Accident Attorney
If you are injured in an accident involving a leased car in Queens, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses due to the amount of insurance required with car leases. However, this may require multiple claims under New York’s complex auto insurance and personal injury rules.
A Queens leased car accident lawyer with The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process. We are strong advocates for car accident victims.
Call us today or reach out online for assistance. We won’t charge a legal fee unless we recover compensation for you. We’ll start with a free case review to answer any questions you may have. Contact us now.