When you rent a car, the last thing you expect is a rental car accident.
Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happens to thousands of drivers each year.
If you’ve experienced a rental car accident, you’re probably wondering what to do next.
Whether you’re a resident of Florida or just enjoying a vacation to The Sunshine State, a car crash in a rental vehicle can be stressful and unsettling. In some cases, it can even result in thousands of dollars of medical bills or expensive court fees that leave you unsure of where to turn.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what to do after a rental car accident and when to contact a team of accident attorneys for legal assistance.
4 Things to Do Immediately Following a Rental Car Accident
Safety is the top priority after any car accident, including one involving a rental car.
Here are a few things to do right away to ensure the safety of everyone in the vicinity of the accident:
1. Call emergency services
Even if the accident seems minor, call emergency services.
In addition to checking all parties for injuries, calling emergency services ensures the police will arrive on scene. When they do, they’ll issue a comprehensive accident report for the crash.
When you file an insurance claim for the crash, that accident report will be an essential document.
2. Move to a safe location
Next, secure the accident scene. Consider pulling vehicles to the side of the road and using flashers to alert other motorists to the hazard.
If you’re concerned about altering the scene of the accident, take a few photos before you move the vehicles.
3. Document the scene
Next, gather as much information about the accident as possible.
Use your cell phone to take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. Get the names and contact information of all witnesses and request the other driver’s insurance information and contact details.
While the police will also collect much of this information, it’s essential to cover your bases in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Keep in mind that any evidence you collect now can be used later to support your injury claim and help streamline the claims process.
4. Seek medical attention
Even if you believe you weren’t harmed in the accident, you should seek medical attention.
Some car accident injuries don’t show symptoms for weeks or months after a collision. As such, it’s essential to see a medical professional who can detect “hidden injuries” and provide needed treatment.
If you were injured in the accident, seeking medical attention will also provide the medical records you’ll need to justify an insurance claim.
What to do Next: Contact the Rental Car Company
Once you’ve ensured your safety, contact the rental car agency and inform them of the accident.
Sometimes, you can do this directly through an app on your phone. Other times, you’ll have to call the agency directly.
Here are a few quick tips:
- When you speak with an adjuster, be prepared to take notes.
- Follow all instructions carefully.
- Note the date and time of each call, the name and title of the person you spoke with, and the content of the conversation. This information may be critical later when you file your insurance claim.
What About Insurance Coverage?
How does insurance actually work when rental cars are involved?
Today, there are several insurance policies that may apply in rental car accidents. These include the renter’s personal auto insurance and the rental car company’s insurance.
Here’s a brief breakdown of each:
Your personal insurance
We recommend starting by informing your existing car insurance policy of the accident.
If you have a comprehensive policy, your insurance company should provide collision coverage in addition to the liability coverage required by law.
If you’re unsure what your personal insurance policy covers, review your coverage information to understand its limits and deductibles.
Rental car company insurance
When you rent a car, you’ll have access to several types of insurance policies at the time of rental.
These usually include the following:
- Damage waivers. Damage waivers typically pay for any damage to a rented vehicle during a covered incident.
- Personal effects insurance. Personal effects insurance covers personal items that are stolen or lost from the car.
- Supplemental liability insurance. Supplemental liability insurance provides extra liability coverage for rental car drivers involved in accidents that harm property or other people.
- Personal accident insurance. Personal accident insurance pays for medical expenses drivers and passengers incur due to an accident.
To understand the various Insurance options available to you, discuss them with the rental car company when you pick up the vehicle.
When To Seek Legal Representation
If you’ve experienced a rental car accident, consulting with a personal injury attorney specializing in rental car accidents is critical.
After all, the aftermath of rental car accidents can be complex. Securing insurance payouts can be difficult, and proving liability is challenging, so having a good attorney on your side is critical.
Your attorney will guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and help you pursue a fair settlement.
Working with a personal injury attorney also ensures that you will file a claim within the timeline mandated by Florida’s statute of limitations.
Ready to secure a legal team you can trust? Contact Ward & Barnes. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys will help you navigate the aftermath of your rental car accident and secure an insurance payout to cope with damages or pay your medical bills. Don’t wait – get the personal injury representation you need to put the accident behind you and keep your life moving.