Rental car accident Loss of Use and Admin Fees

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Jan 27, 2018
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#1
Last August, I was rear ended, at no fault of my own, while driving a Hertz rental car in Minnesota. The at fault driver's insurance, American Family, has paid for the damages but refuses to pay the Loss of Use and Administrative fee's ($345 in total) that Hertz is charging. Hertz has contracted Viking Billing Services to collect the unpaid fees from me. Because I was not at fault, I do not feel I am responsible for the fees. Progressive, my insurance, agrees with me but has not been able to assist in any meaningful way. American Family has instructed me "not to pay the fees and see what happens." I called Viking Billing Services and the representative was very agitated by the fact that I was questioning the fees. I would greatly appreciate any advice. Should I ignore the bill as suggested by American Family? Or, should I elevate this to someone else?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#2
This is standard practice for car rentals. From the moment you or I drive away, we are responsible for damages and also for flat tires.

Rental agencies will, of course, work with insurance companies, but any amount unpaid by falls to the renter to pay, whether or not we may think said amount to be fair.

What you can do in this case is appeal to Hertz using our Company Contacts. The link is at the top of this page. Be sure to read and follow the instructions at the top of the initial Contacts page.

You may also find these to be interesting reading:
Car Rentals: FAQ
Car Rentals: Protecting Yourself
Car Rentals: What About Flat Tires?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 27, 2018
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#4
@LUHA - just flow the steps provided.

there is an at fault driver here - you may need to sue them in small claims court.

I would simply offer to assign my claim to Hertz - let them sue them.
Thank you both. I'll look into the instructions suggested. Can you explain what it means to "assign my claim to Hertz"? Does that imply that I should tell Hertz to go after the at fault driver?
 
Dec 7, 2017
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#5
Thank you both. I'll look into the instructions suggested. Can you explain what it means to "assign my claim to Hertz"? Does that imply that I should tell Hertz to go after the at fault driver?
I would tell Hertz that you are not the tortfeasor and they have to make all efforts to recover from the at fault person before coming after you., And you are happy to assign your claim against him to them so they can collect.

The reason why they are coming after you is that they failed to prove their loss to the other insurance carrier. . . .the steps in the threads outline the steps.

here - I would also contact the driver who is at fault and make a claim against them on behalf of Hertz and tell them if Hertz sues you, you will sue them to recover any loss you sustain. Once again, we have an insurer who paid a claim on behalf of an insured and did not get a release of all claims - this is literally a bad faith insurance settlements claims practice. .
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#6
I would tell Hertz that you are not the tortfeasor and they have to make all efforts to recover from the at fault person before coming after you., And you are happy to assign your claim against him to them so they can collect.

The reason why they are coming after you is that they failed to prove their loss to the other insurance carrier. . . .the steps in the threads outline the steps.

here - I would also contact the driver who is at fault and make a claim against them on behalf of Hertz and tell them if Hertz sues you, you will sue them to recover any loss you sustain. Once again, we have an insurer who paid a claim on behalf of an insured and did not get a release of all claims - this is literally a bad faith insurance settlements claims practice. .
The problem here is that most insurance companies do not cover loss of use or administrative fees. These fees are normally a contractual obligation between the rental company and the renter. Unless the individual at fault in the accident was a party in the rental contract, the rental company has nothing to persuade them to pay these fees. If the company doesn't drop the claim, it would be incumbent on the renter to seek recovery from the person at fault for the accident.
 
Dec 7, 2017
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#7
The problem here is that most insurance companies do not cover loss of use or administrative fees. These fees are normally a contractual obligation between the rental company and the renter. Unless the individual at fault in the accident was a party in the rental contract, the rental company has nothing to persuade them to pay these fees. If the company doesn't drop the claim, it would be incumbent on the renter to seek recovery from the person at fault for the accident.
What the insurance company covers and what the tortfeasor are liable for in damages are often two different things. . . .

You can use the insurance company refusing to cover damages as not reasonable and customary [or provable] as a sword against Hertz, but also have a right of action against the person at fault for ALL damages you suffer as as result of their negligence. Just because YOU have a financial obligation to Hertz arising frm the accident does not mean your claim agains the person who hit you is limited to what their insurance company is willing to pay.

The OP here is the third party beneficiary of the actions taken by his insurance company to settle the claim. The carrier failed to get a release. This will cost the insured more money - and will cost the claimant more money.

My son got into an accident in a parking lot 5 years ago. No injuries. It was a 2 mph event. My son's insurer paid the damage claim and I instructed them they were not authorized to pay the claim until they obtained a full and complete release from all persons in the vehicle. They chose not to do so. 6 months later we get a whiplash / neck injury demand from someone who claimed to be in the car when it was hit [on the side at 2mph]. I was livid at the carrier - and we collected a few $$ to me for my time and fees needed to defend my son against a frivolous claim - sure - the carrier covered the personal injury claim, thankfully denied it as not plausible but I was required to monitor the case to make sure they actually represented his interests. In Calif we have rule called Cumis Counsel - for when the carrier fails to properly represent the interests of the insured.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
R

Realitoes

Guest
#8
What the insurance company covers and what the tortfeasor are liable for in damages are often two different things. . . .

You can use the insurance company refusing to cover damages as not reasonable and customary [or provable] as a sword against Hertz, but also have a right of action against the person at fault for ALL damages you suffer as as result of their negligence. Just because YOU have a financial obligation to Hertz arising frm the accident does not mean your claim agains the person who hit you is limited to what their insurance company is willing to pay.

The OP here is the third party beneficiary of the actions taken by his insurance company to settle the claim. The carrier failed to get a release. This will cost the insured more money - and will cost the claimant more money.

My son got into an accident in a parking lot 5 years ago. No injuries. It was a 2 mph event. My son's insurer paid the damage claim and I instructed them they were not authorized to pay the claim until they obtained a full and complete release from all persons in the vehicle. They chose not to do so. 6 months later we get a whiplash / neck injury demand from someone who claimed to be in the car when it was hit [on the side at 2mph]. I was livid at the carrier - and we collected a few $$ to me for my time and fees needed to defend my son against a frivolous claim - sure - the carrier covered the personal injury claim, thankfully denied it as not plausible but I was required to monitor the case to make sure they actually represented his interests. In Calif we have rule called Cumis Counsel - for when the carrier fails to properly represent the interests of the insured.
So what he needs to do is hire an attorney to sort this out, unless he has a relative that is one! ;)
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jan 27, 2018
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#9
This is fascinating stuff! Thanks again for your thoughts. Unfortunately, I don't have a lawyer contact, so I probably won't go the legal route. After all, it's only $345 and legal action would require flights to Minnesota, time off work etc. etc. Nonetheless, it's $345 I would rather not pay for reasons stated earlier. It sounds like my next best bet is to contact the Hertz executives listed on this website, explain the situation, hope they value the fact that I'm a regular Hertz renter and they drop the fees. I could also ask Hertz to send me the paperwork that itemizes their loss of use claim and offer to transfer my claim against the at fault driver to Hertz so Hertz can go after them for the fees (but i assume I have to file a legal claim first). Otherwise, I'm not seeing another way out of this since apparently the tiny print on their contract says I have to pay these ridiculous fees.

I still have this lingering question as to whether anyone has ever just ignored the fees and seen them go away on their own? American Family (the at fault driver's insurance) suggested that this is likely what will happen and that I should ignore the bill from Viking Billing Services. They said Viking Billing Services gets a cut of the money and that these companies will try once in hopes that the person doesn't question the fees, then they give up. In reality, will they just send a collections company after me? Or sue me?

Thanks!

I found this interesting article for others who are in a similar situation: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2016/10/30/rental-car-loss-of-use/92878126/
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#10
You should, I think, research Minnesota law regarding Loss of Use. If they "uphold" the charges, then I would go after the "at fault" company for the $345. To them that is a very small amount and since their client is at fault, they should be liable and they may quickly pay. If they refuse, you could then file in small claims court.
 
Dec 7, 2017
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#11
This is fascinating stuff! Thanks again for your thoughts. Unfortunately, I don't have a lawyer contact, so I probably won't go the legal route. After all, it's only $345 and legal action would require flights to Minnesota, time off work etc. etc. Nonetheless, it's $345 I would rather not pay for reasons stated earlier. It sounds like my next best bet is to contact the Hertz executives listed on this website, explain the situation, hope they value the fact that I'm a regular Hertz renter and they drop the fees. I could also ask Hertz to send me the paperwork that itemizes their loss of use claim and offer to transfer my claim against the at fault driver to Hertz so Hertz can go after them for the fees (but i assume I have to file a legal claim first). Otherwise, I'm not seeing another way out of this since apparently the tiny print on their contract says I have to pay these ridiculous fees.

I still have this lingering question as to whether anyone has ever just ignored the fees and seen them go away on their own? American Family (the at fault driver's insurance) suggested that this is likely what will happen and that I should ignore the bill from Viking Billing Services. They said Viking Billing Services gets a cut of the money and that these companies will try once in hopes that the person doesn't question the fees, then they give up. In reality, will they just send a collections company after me? Or sue me?

Thanks!

I found this interesting article for others who are in a similar situation: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2016/10/30/rental-car-loss-of-use/92878126/
The decision to not pursue one's legal remedies for time, distance and cost is not a legal decision and outside the scope of this forum. we can only tell you what your rights may be, what others have done, and how to challenge claims made by companies. If you choose not to pursue your legal remedies and stop efforts and make Viking an offer for business or practical reasons - then that is solely your decision.

As for requesting the required information - I would also ask for their claims file - to see what the back and forth was on the loss of use claim. Tell Viking that the company will have to turn it over in litigation - and they might as well do so now. Remember to tell Viking [once again everyone] this is not a liquidated claim and you do not agree that you owe them anything.

Heck - just received a demand from a collection agency for a medical bill my wife paid 5 months ago - and the medical provider's onliine account shows zero due. It's a simple response to the company - basically screw off - we don't owe you or your principal anything. I'm not even going to bother looking for the paid receipt in the credit card at this point.
 
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Neil Maley

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#12
I agree with Its Not Me - I don't think you should just give up. They have to prove the loss of use - you should state exactly what Its Not Me said. When you go up the Executive chain at Hertz you should also state that - that Viking has not provided any proof of loss of use, they will have to submit it in court if they opt to go further than this and you refuse to pay this without the proof of the charge.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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#13
Excellent points, I think I get it now! I'll push back on Hertz and Viking and tell them:
- I have not been provided a claims file and therefore, I do not see any evidence of loss of use
- it's not a liquidated claim (I'm not at fault and I don't owe the fees)
- the claim file can be turned over now or during litigation
- If I get the claims file, I'll contact American Family (again) and tell them I don't owe the fees, that their driver was at fault and they're liable
- If American Family refuses, I'll tell them we can settle it in small claims court......then I'll decide if I actually want the headache of following through on litigation.

I'll also look into MN loss of use law.

Thanks again everyone. I'll follow up as this progresses.
 
Jan 27, 2018
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#14
Just a quick follow up to this issue:
I contacted the Hertz claims department and they had absolutely no record of this car accident. They referred me to the Hertz local branch where I rented the car in order to obtain the accident claim number. The local branch referred me back to the claims department. I have now written to the Hertz Senior Director of Customer Care as recommended on this website. I explained that this is not a liquidated claim and asked for the Hertz claim file. I'll update as I learn more.