It’s back-to-school season. For thousands of families across the country, that means it’s time to pack up their recent graduate’s possessions, pile the boxes into a moving truck, and help their new college freshman move in to their new dorm.
The logistics of getting your son or daughter to college for the first year can be especially tricky. Depending on how far away the college is from your hometown, it may make more sense to fly and ship your child’s belongings to the university. If your child isn’t overly materialistic and has chosen a school nearby, you may be able to fit all of their belongings in one car and make a relatively short trip to campus.
But for many families, the only way their child’s belongings are going to get from here to there is by using a moving truck. And most rental companies don’t require renters to receive training to drive the moving truck.
With so many inexperienced moving truck drivers hitting the road this time of year, it’s good to know how you can expect to recover if you get into an accident with a moving truck.
Who Was Driving Matters
There are multiple scenarios that may play out depending on who rented the moving truck, who was driving the moving truck, and who was found to be at-fault in the accident. Let’s take a look at each possible scenario:
If You’re Driving Your Own Car and You’re At-Fault: Typically, your insurance will be able to pay for any damages or injuries sustained by the moving truck driver and the truck itself. You may have to pay additional expenses such as a “loss of use” fee to the rental company for the time it takes for the truck to be fixed or replaced.
If You’re Driving Your Own Car and Not At-Fault: In this situation, you will likely be able to file a claim. Who you file a claim against, however, depends on who was driving the truck.
If the person who rented the truck was driving when the accident occurred, you should be able to file a claim against the renter. However, you will likely not be able to hold the rental company responsible.
If the person driving the truck is an employee of the rental company, you may be able to hold the rental company responsible for the damages you sustained.
If You’re the Driver of the Moving Truck and You’re At-Fault: If you’re the driver of the moving truck, you may assume that your personal car insurance will cover you while you’re driving the moving truck the same way it would cover you if you were driving a friend’s car. That may not be the case.
It’s important to go over your own insurance policy and to read the rental company’s policy to know if you’re covered in the event of an accident.
Typically, your liability insurance will carry over in the event that you hit someone while driving a rented moving truck. That means that if the other person’s vehicle is damaged or they are injured in the accident, your insurance should cover those costs.
However, you may not be covered for the damage the rental truck sustains in the accident. The rental company will typically offer you an insurance policy before you rent the truck that would help lessen these costs in case of an accident. These policies aren’t mandatory, though, so unless you choose to purchase one, you won’t be covered in the event of an accident.
If You’re the Driver of the Moving Truck and Not At-Fault: If the other driver is at-fault for the accident, their insurance will typically have to pay for damage to the rental and any expenses associated with the injuries you sustained.
When the Rental Company May Be Liable
In some cases, it’s the rental company who should be held liable for any damages sustained in a moving truck accident.
Sometimes, rental companies don’t adequately train their employees to drive their trucks. If an untrained driver causes an accident while transporting your belongings, or if an untrained driver crashes into your car while you’re driving, you may be able to hold the rental company responsible.
Additionally, it’s the responsibility of the rental company to make sure the trucks they rent out are in good condition. If an accident is caused because of a defect in the truck—if the brakes go out, for example, or if the steering wheel sticks—you may be entitled to compensation, regardless of whether you were driving the truck or were hit by the truck.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
It’s stressful enough to try to move your child into college. Getting into an accident makes the situation even more complex. If you were injured in a moving truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation.