Having an auto accident is stressful enough. Having an auto accident with a rental car can be even more difficult. You not only have to deal with all the stress that normally comes with a car accident, but you also have to figure out just exactly how insurance will handle the situation. After all, people who are driving rental cars are usually not residents of the city they are in. How will liability and compensation work out when you are dealing with someone who is from out of town–or if you yourself are from out of town?
Most people do not know how to begin answering such questions. After all, these matters require full and comprehensive knowledge of the law–and how real-world situations like this have been handled before. Fortunately, we are here to help. In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of what to do after your Colorado rental car accident.
The first and foremost thing you will want to do after any accident (not just car accidents) is to check all involved parties for injuries. If anyone requires any urgent medical attention, you should do anything you can to help them get it. This is not just because it is the necessary, moral thing to do. It is also a legally sound practice. In fact, failure to do so can even constitute a crime.
Once you have made sure that everyone is reasonably safe and stable, you should report the accident immediately with the police. While you are waiting for them to arrive, go ahead and start documenting all possible evidence of the accident. This means taking photographs of the accident scene, any damages incurred (or not incurred) on any of the involved vehicles, any injuries suffered by anyone involved, and anything else that you feel may be relevant.
If you feel it necessary to take photographs or videos of anyone else, make sure you get their express consent first. You do not want to invalidate any evidence by capturing it without someone’s permission. In fact, you may even want to consider getting a video of them giving you permission to record or photograph them.
Once you feel you have taken sufficient photographs and/or videos of all relevant evidence, you will want to begin exchanging contact information with all relevant parties. This means exchanging phone numbers, insurance information, and any rental car information. If at all possible, you will also want to go ahead and collect contact information from any potential witnesses as well. These could help build up your personal injury case greatly.
Once the police arrive, you will need to give them your statement. Afterward, you should make sure you get their contact information as well. This means writing down their names and badge numbers and also procuring a copy of your police report. It is possible that you will not be able to do the latter until you request it later on. In any case, such official documents are vitally important for you to have.
This is true whether or not you were the driver with the rental vehicle. If you were driving the rental car, ask your insurance agent whether your policy provides you with collision and comprehensive coverage. Such coverage, if provided, is provided in addition to the liability coverage required by law. You will also want to contact the rental car company in order to let them know you were involved in an auto accident. Each rental car company has its own policies regarding accidents. Adhering to such policies can not only help your personal injury case but also prevent you from being charged with extra fines and fees.
If you have “first-party” coverage, your car insurance provider will have to pay the rental car company—regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the accident. However, if you are deemed liable, you will have to pay the deductible to the rental car company. If the other driver is deemed liable, your insurance will pay after their insurance.
Furthermore, if you paid for your rental car with a credit card, you may want to go ahead and call your credit card company to see if they offer rental car insurance. If they do, it is possible that they will pay for the damages that happened to the vehicle while you were driving. However, credit card companies do not generally extend liability coverage—meaning that they will not pay for any damages incurred by other vehicles during your accident.
If you were not driving the rental car, ask your insurance agent whether your policy provides you with additional collision coverage in the event of an accident with a rental car. It is possible that your car insurance company provides you with little to no coverage for rental car accidents—or that there is a hierarchy in place that will prioritize claims in order of which was opened first, and how much coverage each policy offers.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to take care of an auto accident claim on your own, especially if you do not have a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. You need someone on your side you can trust. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their automobile accident cases. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.