Leasing a car is a popular option for many Florida residents, with nearly 20% of all new vehicles being leased in the U.S. Leasing can provide a cost-effective way to enjoy a new vehicle without the commitment of ownership. However, being in an accident while driving a leased car can create a unique set of challenges. So, what should you do if you are in a leased car accident in Florida? We’ll go over what to do in a leased car accident, how to report it and the types of damages you could be eligible to receive so you know exactly what your rights are in Florida.

What Should You Do if You Have an Accident in a Leased Car?

In the unfortunate event of a car accident involving a leased vehicle, your priority should always be safety. Just like in any accident, take the following steps:

  1. Call 911: If you or anyone else is injured, immediately call 911 to request medical assistance. Safety should be your top concern.
  2. Involve the Police: In most cases, Florida law mandates that the police must be called to the accident scene if injuries or property damage exceed a specific threshold, typically around $1,000. It is useful to have the police involved as they will usually file a crash report, which can be invaluable in documenting the accident and determining fault.
  3. Exchange Information: Collect contact and insurance information from the other involved drivers. This data will be essential for reporting the accident and seeking compensation.
  4. Gather Information:
    1. If it’s safe, gather information at the scene.
    2. Take photos, including the vehicles’ resting positions and damage, and collect contact information for witnesses.
    3. Note weather and road conditions and inquire about available surveillance or security camera footage.
    4. Don’t interfere with law enforcement; collect valuable data for future reference.

Learn more about personal injury in a car accident in this useful video.

Where and How Do You Report the Accident?

After leaving the accident scene and ensuring your medical needs are addressed, you should promptly report the accident to the following parties:

Your Auto Insurance Company: Always check your specific auto insurance policy for the required reporting instructions. Insurance policies typically require immediate notification of any accident. Contact your insurance company using the provided phone number, email, or online notification portal. Additionally, contact your insurance agent to inform them of the accident and inquire about additional steps.

Dealership or Leasing Company: Most lease agreements stipulate that you must notify the dealership or leasing company where you leased your vehicle about the accident. Follow the reporting requirements outlined in your lease contract. Remember that the leasing company owns the car so they may have specific repair instructions.

State Reporting Requirements: Check your state’s specific reporting requirements. In some cases, state law may require you to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or another agency. In Florida, Consult the DMV website or contact your insurance agent for guidance.

Recovering Damages

When it comes to recovering damages for a leased car accident in Florida, several factors determine the possible amount of compensation, including determining fault and how quickly repairs are needed.

Recoverable Damages

In the context of legal actions resulting from leased vehicle accidents, it’s essential to note that accident victims can potentially pursue a variety of recoverable damages. These damages encompass both compensatory and punitive damages, each serving distinct purposes in the legal sphere.

Compensatory Damages

These damages are awarded to the victim of a case to help compensate for any harm or losses caused by the guilty party. They can be further categorized into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic Damages encompass a wide range of financial losses that can be quantified, such as

  • A range of medical expenses, including various therapies like physical, cognitive, and psychological treatment.
  • Lost wages of the past or future encompass not only the financial losses already incurred but also any potential diminishment in earning capacity for the individual. This includes instances where the accident victim can continue working but cannot perform the same work or earn an equivalent income to their pre-accident level.
  • The replacement or repair of personal property, notably the leased vehicle involved in the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

On the other hand, non-economic damages include subjective losses and are often difficult to quantify precisely. This can include intangible aspects like pain, suffering and emotional distress, particularly when it leads to conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder directly resulting from the accident. Non-economic damages may also include a loss of companionship or consortium and the overall reduction in the quality of life experienced by the injured party.

Sometimes, the court may deem it necessary to impose punitive damages as part of the legal resolution. This legal remedy comes into play when the defendant’s actions are determined to be of a grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional nature, warranting a form of punitive punishment. It’s crucial to understand that the burden of proving the defendant’s actions as serious enough to justify punitive damages falls upon the plaintiffs.

It’s important to emphasize that when considering the pursuit of damages in a leased vehicle accident case, it’s highly advisable to seek professional legal counsel from an experienced car accident attorney. Car Accident Attorneys can offer a comprehensive assessment of the overall strength of your case, provide insights into the potential for damage recovery, and determine the possible amount of damages that might be awarded in your specific situation.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are usually only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is deemed outrageous, and compensatory damages are insufficient to address the injuries. To request punitive damages in Florida, a victim must provide evidence and obtain the court’s permission to amend their complaint. The judge then decides if the jury can consider punitive damages based on the evidence presented.

Florida has caps on punitive damages, depending on the defendant’s actions. If the defendant’s behaviour constitutes gross negligence, the cap is $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages. If the defendant was motivated by financial gain, the cap increases to $2,000,000. However, there is no cap for intentional misconduct. Discussing your case with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney is advisable due to exceptions to these caps.

Claims Against The Other Driver

When making a claim against the other driver in a leased vehicle accident, it’s considered a third-party claim and follows a process similar to if you owned your car outright. If you believe the other driver is at fault, contact their insurance company to report the accident. Most insurers offer online or mobile claim reporting options, or you can find a toll-free claim reporting number on their website. Be prepared to provide accident details, including date, time, and location, as well as the names and contact information of other involved drivers.

After conducting an investigation, the insurance company will either accept or dispute the claim. If accepted, they will guide you through obtaining repair estimates and authorize car repairs. However, if your claim is denied, you have a couple of options. You can initiate a lawsuit against the other driver, but litigation is a lengthy and costly process with uncertain outcomes. Alternatively, if you’re unwilling to endure the wait and hassle of battling with the other driver’s insurance, your second option is to file a claim against your own insurance coverage.

Claims Against Your Own Insurance Company

In your lease agreement, you must usually have multiple types of insurance coverage, including collision coverage. Collision coverage is designed for scenarios where your car sustains damage in an accident, whether it was your fault or if you can’t afford to wait for the other driver’s insurance to acknowledge liability and cover your losses.

Opting to file a claim with your collision coverage involves a straightforward process. Your insurance provider will arrange for a repair estimate. This can be done by sending an adjuster to your location, directing you to a local field office, or referring you to a suitable body shop for the estimate. Once the estimate is complete, your insurance company will guide you on the subsequent steps to repair your vehicle.

However, it’s essential to be aware that coordinating your vehicle repairs might necessitate communication with the dealership or leasing company.


In summary, dealing with an accident in a leased car in Florida comes with unique considerations. Prioritize safety and follow the necessary steps, such as reporting the accident to your insurance company the leasing company, and adhering to state-specific reporting requirements.

Recovering damages, both economic and non-economic, depends on fault and the urgency of repairs. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced team is wise for a comprehensive evaluation of your case. Whether you make a claim against the other driver or your insurance, communication with the leasing company may be needed for repairs. In such situations, understanding your rights and acting carefully is crucial to navigating the complexities of a leased car accident.

If you or a loved one has suffered physical harm involving a leased car and want the help of experienced and empathetic lawyers, contact Perkins Law Offices at perkins@perkinslawoffices.com or call for a free, confidential case review at (855) 741 – LAWS (5297).