One of the common reasons people choose the leasing option when purchasing a new car is the ability to trade in for a newer vehicle for less money than buying a brand new car. There are certainly pros and cons involved in leasing a vehicle. But if you ultimately choose this option, be sure to read the fine print before signing the leasing contract. There may be consequences you would not expect, especially if you have a wreck in your leased vehicle. Let our Joplin car accident lawyer explain.
Common misconception about how car leases work
According to some experts, consumers often make mistakes when setting up their car lease agreement. A car dealership will advertise a low monthly lease payment, with relatively large payments at the beginning of the lease period. While this arrangement is meant to pay a portion of the car lease in advance, that prepayment can be an issue if the vehicle is involved in an accident within the first few months of the lease period.
If a leased vehicle is wrecked, then the insurance company will reimburse the leasing company for the car’s value. However, the money that was paid up front by the consumer is typically not refunded. That means the consumer loses the leased vehicle while also leasing the money paid in advance.
What should you do if your leased vehicle is involved in an accident?
With the popularity of leased vehicles increasing, it is important for consumers to understand the steps that need to be taken if they are involved in an accident in their leased car. Our Joplin car accident lawyer recommends that you should first make sure that you and anyone else involved in the accident are alright and seek emergency medical care if necessary. As with any other car accident, you should also contact law enforcement to report the accident.
Also, like with any other accident, you need to exchange information with the other driver(s), including contact information and insurance information. You will need to contact the insurance company for the other driver. Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle and your injuries, as appropriate.
Dealing with the insurance company covering your leased vehicle
Most, if not all, leased vehicles come with automobile insurance coverage. There is typically a provision in the vehicle lease agreement that requires the consumer to inform the leasing company that the leased vehicle was involved in an accident. You may also have an obligation to notify the automobile insurance company of the accident.
You may also be expected to meet with a claims adjuster working with the insurance company so that the damage to the leased vehicle can be evaluated. You may be asked to take the vehicle to a particular repair shop to obtain an estimate on the cost of repairs. You will be instructed by the insurance company on which steps to take to get the leased vehicle repaired. Because the vehicle does not belong to you, it is expected that you will follow their instructions with regard to repairs.
Having your leased vehicle repaired pursuant to the leasing company’s instructions
According to our Joplin car accident lawyer, it is essential that the leasing company or auto dealer from whom you leased the vehicle be informed of the accident. That is the only way you can be sure to comply with whatever conditions or requirements they will have with regard to having the vehicle repaired. Some leasing companies may not agree to have after-market components on a leased vehicle repaired. Instead, the leasing company may decide to use only original components provided by the manufacturer. The important thing to remember is that you could be forced to pay certain penalties or fees at the end of the lease period if you failed to meet all of the conditions required by the leasing company.
No right to damages to the leased vehicle
The primary goal of any lawsuit is to be compensated monetarily for the injuries you sustain because of someone else’s actions. As any car accident attorney will tell you, the purpose of the lawsuit following a car accident is to make the at-fault driver to compensate you for your injuries and losses resulting from the accident. The amount and type of recovery to which you may be entitled depend on many factors. In the legal arena, what you may recover is referred to as “damages.”
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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