What Steps Should I Take After a Rental Car Accident?

A serious car accident can be very costly and may even leave a victim with long-lasting physical and emotional distress. Any severe car accident can be traumatic, but a collision in a rental car adds additional stress. In a rental car accident, there may be additional complications. Drivers may feel like they are going to be responsible for the damage to the rental car, even if the accident was not their fault.

Different rental companies may have different policies on insurance and may offer various levels of coverage, depending on how much the renter pays. When someone rents a car, there is a lot of paperwork that can be confusing and require more than one signature. After an accident, the driver may have reasonable questions and concerns about the rental agreement and what happens after a crash. When an accident does occur, it is important to remember a few key points. While there may be many questions about rental policies, the first priority should always be safety.

Make Sure Everyone is Safe

After any car accident, The number one priority should be the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Any drivers and passengers need to be moved to a safe place whenever it is possible. Getting out of a vehicle on the highway after a crash can be dangerous. If the vehicle is still operational, it is very important to pull over to the side of the road and out of the way of other traffic. If the vehicle is disabled, it may be necessary to move passengers to a safer location.

In some situations, it may be more dangerous to leave the vehicle than to remain in place and wait for emergency services. Additionally, the severity of injuries is a factor in whether or not to move a car accident victim. Moving someone who has a catastrophic injury could make matters worse. It is best to assess the situation and surroundings to decide what the safest move is after a crash.

Contact Emergency Services

Contacting emergency services after a crash is extremely important. It is a necessary means for getting potentially life-saving medical treatment. It may also be a legal requirement to at least make a police report, depending on the location of the accident. Also, it is a good idea to keep emergency numbers in mind when traveling outside of the United States. Most Americans are likely familiar with 9-1-1, but some areas will have separate numbers for police, fire, and medical personnel. Before traveling, making a list of emergency contacts can save trouble later on.

Exchange Information and Gather Evidence

After everyone is safe and emergency services are on the way, the next important step is to exchange information with anyone else involved in the accident. This will typically include name and contact information from drivers and insurance information. It is best to remember that even if another vehicle was not involved or if the other driver left the scene, getting information from a property owner can be helpful later on.

If a driver hits a parked car, it is customary to try to find the driver, and if this fails, one should leave a note with contact information under their windshield wiper. This information is important for both insurance claims and legal suits. If it is possible, taking photographs of the scene and any damage as soon as possible after the accident can be helpful.

When taking photos or otherwise documenting what happened, it is best to make note of the following:

  • Color, make, and model of all the vehicles involved.
  • Date and time of the accident.
  • Weather conditions, including the state of the road and any natural or street lighting.
  • Any damage done to vehicles and property.
  • Any injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Contact the Car Rental Company

Calling the rental company should be the next step. Their number can be found on the rental agreement. It is important to explain the situation truthfully and with the necessary details. Rental companies will typically have their own procedures for dealing with repairs or replacements of rental vehicles and insurance issues.

Another good reason to be familiar with the rental agreement is to understand who is responsible for damages. A rental company may cover many damages, but if the driver pays for repairs themselves, the company is unlikely to refund them. It is also a good idea to be familiar with the specifics of rental insurance.

In many situations, a rental car will come with some form of basic coverage, including a collision damage waiver, theft protection, and third-party liability coverage. It is worth noting that a waiver is not insurance, it means that the company waives the right to make a driver pay for damages. Policies can vary greatly by company and by the individual rental agreement. Understanding the rules and keeping a copy of any paperwork can prevent future problems, especially if the accident leads to a court case. If the case goes to court, the victim needs a strong lawyer by their side to protect their rights.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Victims Affected by Rental Collisions

If you have suffered a serious injury as the result of a rental car wreck, you should contact one of our dedicated Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Accidents involving rental cars have their own list of considerations and complications. A qualified lawyer can help you understand your legal options. Car accidents can be very expensive and lead to injuries and other damages. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.