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Liability claim for German Hertz rental

Liability claim for German Hertz rental

Old May 6, 18, 4:16 pm
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Liability claim for German Hertz rental

Not sure if this belongs in the Hertz or Germany forum, so feel free to move this post as necessary.
I rented a Hertz car in Germany and unfortunately scratched another car while parking. I left a note with my US phone number so the owner could contact me, but didn't contact the police as I had to go to the airport to catch my flight. Luckily Hertz didn't notice any scratches on my rental car upon returning the car, but how can I or the owner of the other car claim for the repairs to their bumper? As this is damage to another car the liability insurance should cover it. I called Hertz Germany, but they said they need a police report, which I do not have of course. I heard not reporting within 24 hours is considered a hit and run in Germany with an accompanying fine, so would rather not add insult to injury.
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Old May 7, 18, 2:48 am
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You should have take a note of the licence plate. With this you could have contacted the police even afterwards and filed the accident. At the moment you either can hope the owner contacts you directly or maybe even better doesn't care and just settles it with his own insurance. About the hit and run you are right. Leaving a phone number is not considered sufficient.
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Old May 7, 18, 2:54 am
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Unfortunately, you violated German law and Hertz rules in Germany.
By law, you have to call the police in Germany. You can tell them that you are in a rush and they will take care of it for you but as of right now you officially fled a scene.
Also, after 24 hours it's not a fine thing anymore, you can actually get charged for this and be invited to court. The 24 hours rule is just some kind of "think about it again" rule if you change your mind and decide to report yourself.
Afterwards, the DA will have to run investigations.

Also, Hertz requires you to call the police in case of an accident as you may lose your insurance if you don't. Did the driver already call you?

Technically, you are obilged to pay his damages. If Hertz refuses, then you have to pay out of your own pocket.
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Old May 7, 18, 3:13 am
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Originally Posted by cardesigner2000 View Post
Not sure if this belongs in the Hertz or Germany forum, so feel free to move this post as necessary.
I rented a Hertz car in Germany and unfortunately scratched another car while parking. I left a note with my US phone number so the owner could contact me, but didn't contact the police as I had to go to the airport to catch my flight. [...] I heard not reporting within 24 hours is considered a hit and run in Germany with an accompanying fine, so would rather not add insult to injury.
If the owner reported the hit and run to the police you now have a case with the DA who will decide if he wants to proscecute. Your only hope is that the owner cursed and threw away the note. Since they don't have your car details it is very unlikely that Hertz will get involved. Minor accidents that happen on privat parking lots are usually not prosecuted with the full might of the law so you might get away there (if it was on a private car parking area).
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Old May 7, 18, 5:55 am
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As others said it's a crime in Germany to leave. Also you will probably loose all claims against Hertz. To be honest a paper is not really a good way to let the other know as they often get lost.
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Old May 7, 18, 6:05 am
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OP - How long ago did this occur?
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Old May 7, 18, 4:04 pm
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Luckily I am able to use my company car insurance to pay for the scratch so I am able to avoid having to go through Hertz and filing a police report. Will know for next time to call the police in Germany even for such minor incidents. Such a difference from neighboring France...
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Old May 7, 18, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by cardesigner2000 View Post
Luckily I am able to use my company car insurance to pay for the scratch so I am able to avoid having to go through Hertz and filing a police report. Will know for next time to call the police in Germany even for such minor incidents. Such a difference from neighboring France...
It would seem that the Germans do not believe in laissez faire!
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Old May 7, 18, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by cardesigner2000 View Post
Luckily I am able to use my company car insurance to pay for the scratch so I am able to avoid having to go through Hertz and filing a police report. Will know for next time to call the police in Germany even for such minor incidents. Such a difference from neighboring France...
How did you get the other guy's contact information so that you could get the damage information?
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Old May 8, 18, 3:20 am
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Originally Posted by cardesigner2000 View Post
Such a difference from neighboring France...
It's a crime in France too. Re: the police report, most rental agencies require it for the insurance to cover it.
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Old May 10, 18, 7:51 am
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You need to report it to the police immediately and not within 24 hours.

Reading Wikipedia would have educated you on the scene:

Anyone who has caused a traffic crash, or contributed to it, has the duty to identify themselves to the victims or to other contributors. If the victim is not present (such as in the case of damage of a parked car) the one who caused the crash has to wait a certain time. If the victim does not appear, he has to report the crash at the next police station without delay. Violation of these rules ("illicit leaving of the scene of a crash") is punishable with prison up to three years or a fine (article 142 of the Strafgesetzbuch).[14]



And with all due respect: Leaving a US phone number after an accident on a foreign continent just because one believes to be in a hurry is a rather arrogant "Me First" approach. The same is true for the statement "I am able to avoid having to go through Hertz and filing a police report" by using a US corporate insurance. As the victim of an accident I would have no intention whatsoever dealing with a US insurance. I would want to contact the insurance insuring the specific car (in our country not the driver but the car is insured).

The penalties are harsh (and in France it makes no difference) and as a first-timer you might expect a monetary penalty of three months income. I am amazed that you, with US background, took it so easily. In certain states of the US they do not consider hit-and-run without reporting as appropriate.
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Old May 10, 18, 9:22 am
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While the penalties vary by state in the US, failure to report a property damage accident is generally a misdemeanor crime.

I still do not understand how it is that OP has the victim's contact information and made good on the damage he caused. In the US, it would be typical for the victim to contact the offender's insurance because the whole process is streamlined and most typically arrangements are made for the insurer to directly cover repairs without any intervention by anybody else. Not likely that a typical US insurer has local contracts in Germany to handle simple repairs !
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Old May 10, 18, 11:27 pm
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I think the whole thing about making good using US insurance is a theoretical statement rather than an explanation of what actually transpired.
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Old May 12, 18, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I still do not understand how it is that OP has the victim's contact information
Victim calls OP(he left the phone number). They agree on how to proceed, hence no need to have the insurance of either parties involved. While that isn't the rule, those types of arrangements can be made. They are of course more risky for either sides. There are plenty of possibilities where the OP/the victim screws the other party/his insurer.

Having the two insurers deal with each other does eliminate those types of risks.
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Old May 13, 18, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
Victim calls OP(he left the phone number). They agree on how to proceed, hence no need to have the insurance of either parties involved. While that isn't the rule, those types of arrangements can be made. They are of course more risky for either sides. There are plenty of possibilities where the OP/the victim screws the other party/his insurer.

Having the two insurers deal with each other does eliminate those types of risks.
Not uncommon in Germany. Few months ago I came to my car, beside the car 2 other vehicles which were damaged, a crying woman, her friend and on the first view a little scratch on my car. I gave them my business card, wrote up their information and left. Later I contacted their insurance and they would have covered the damage at my car. Fortunately after washing my car the scratcch was gone and my garage couldn't find anything.....
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